Jet skis “endanger human and animal life on quiet lakes, frequently frightening cattle” Clare TD Michael McNamara has said.
He told Dáil Éireann this week that jet skis were “used on lakes where they had never been seen before” during the first coronavirus lockdown when there was good weather.
“I spoke to a constituent about it yesterday. She told me of an incident on her family farm, which adjoins a lake.
“A cow was so panicked by jet skis on the lake that she threw a calf,” he said.
McNamara was speaking during a debate on a private members’ motion brought forward by Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly, which has called on the Government to give gardaí the power to seize and detain quad bikes and scramblers when being used unlawfully or in a dangerous or reckless manner in public spaces.
It also calls on Government to extend the national vehicle and driver file database to provide for the compulsory registration of all quad bikes and scrambler motorcycles.
Rural TD Mattie McGrath said he knows how dangerous quads are and how serious it is to be hit by one, while Michael Healy-Rae said that the motion was a sensible one.
“A lot of the people where I come from have quads. They are a terribly important part of their working life.
“We can be sure that they are not for pleasure or leisure. Just like a tractor, a quad is used for getting to places, carrying goods, maintaining wiring and doing all the work that needs to be done around a farm.
“Of course, there is a place for other types of scramblers or motorbikes. As has already been soundly stated, that activity is fine if it happens in the places where it is supposed to,” he said.
Safety bars and road tax
Michael Fitzmaurice said quads and scramblers need to be regulated and using scramblers is a problem in large cities.
“There is one thing we could do in regard to quad bikes. I recall that years ago when we had a problem with very old tractors turning over and, unfortunately, people were being killed, a safety bar was put around them.
“Similar to the safety bar that was developed for the tractors which years ago had no cabs. We should look to that in regard to quad bikes.
"Unfortunately, the statistics show that a lot of people get caught when a quad bike tumbles over. I am not suggesting a safety bar is the be-all and end-all and that it would resolve everything, but it could help.
“We need to make sure quad bikes have indicators for road use. To be honest, I think the cost of road tax on a quad bike is scandalous, especially for the farming community,” he said.