Ballina Environment Society president, Lyn Walker, says more must be done to stop illegal trail bike riding in ecologically sensitive areas, such as the heathland near Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head. Council agrees, but admits it’s a difficult problem to police.
Ballina Environment Society president, Lyn Walker, says more must be done to stop illegal trail bike riding in ecologically sensitive areas, such as the heathland near Lake Ainsworth at Lennox Head. Council agrees, but admits it’s a difficult problem to police. Rebecca Lollback

Trail bikes ruining bushland

TRAIL bikes are causing significant damage to bushland in Lennox Head and East Ballina, say local environmentalists.

President of the Ballina Environment Society, Lyn Walker, said she often heard trail bikes ‘roaring through’ the heathland at the northern end of Lake Ainsworth.

“It is a huge problem,” she said.

“They (the riders) are absolutely bush-bashing.

“When this kind of destruction occurs, there’s no new growth.

“Endangered birds and reptiles simply disappear from the area because they don’t know how to cope with the noise and the invasion. “Mostly the riders are just kids on unregistered bikes without a licence.

“There doesn’t seem to be any way to put a stop to it.”

Ms Walker said the activity stops for a while, after which the riders hit with renewed enthusiasm.

One deterrent could be issuing fines to the parents of young riders, she said.

“I’m not sure if that’s something the council or the police could do.”

“But I think a penalty could stop people from doing it.”

“Unfortunately, trail bike riders are not the only people who damage the heathland.

“People dig up grass trees and dump rubbish, she said.

“There are many selfish people around and there are also people who genuinely don’t understand the importance of these areas.”

Fran Byrne from East Ballina Landcare said motorbikes often caused destruction in areas of East Ballina, including at Allawah Bushland Reserve.

Darel Vidler from the Lennox Head Combined Sports Association said he had noticed illegal trail bike riding down Dodge Lane and through Megan Crescent.

But the council’s manager of open spaces and reserves, Jillian Pratten, said it was difficult for rangers to enforce the rules in these areas.

However she has committed to a review of signage and will determine whether the signs can be improved.

She said she will also look at options for more barriers at the entries to trails, and will liaise closely with police and council rangers.



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