On The Beat: Off Road and Quad Bikes

For this month I would like to focus on a subject that we are receiving numerous calls and complaints about and is causing significant anti-social behaviour across South Leeds – this being the anti-social and illegal use of off road motor bikes and quads.

A few facts on quads:

  • Nuisance quad bikes are looked at in a similar way to nuisance bikes. The nature of bikes and quad bikes means they are noisy but not necessarily illegal.
  • A quad bike ridden on the road must have a number plate and be road registered but not necessarily have lights if the use intended for daytime only. If the vehicle is older than 3yrs a MOT is also compulsory as is insurance and Road Tax.
  • Unlike motorbikes the rider and passenger of a quad bike do not have to wear a helmet.
  • Therefore, if a quad bike is seen on a road with a number plate, MOT, insurance etc as above and they are driving in accordance with highway code then he or she is perfectly legal. The nuisance often comes from the simple fact they are noisy. A legal quad bike can use the public highway just like a car.

Often however, the above is not the case and the drivers are not road legal and are causing anti-social behaviour by the manner of the driving or the location of where they are being driven. This is also often the case with off road bikes.

Report it

If there is a problem with nuisance bikes and quads in your area please contact police via 101 or 101 online. In order to help with progression of any investigation then information required is:

  • Details of times, days and the location of where it happens.
  • Description of the vehicle including colour and size
  • Description of the riders clothing and helmet
  • Description of any vehicles transporting the off road bike / quad such as registration number, colour, make and model
  • Description of the rider

There is also an on-line reporting facility available at www.westyorkshire.police.uk/form/report-nuisance-bikes

If we are able to identify the driver then taking action using the Road Traffic Act is very simple. However, the hard part is identifying them for a number of reasons including the fact that most drivers will cover their faces and they will not have a registration plate etc. This is why community intelligence is so important.

As well as residents contacting us when they see the nuisance driving in action what is helpful is people contacting us with information about where these vehicles are stored, or who is riding them. Most of the vehicles are in people’s sheds and garages and this information and intelligence would assist us tackling this issue by seizing vehicles that are used in an anti-social manner and prosecuting offenders under the relevant legislation.

Our response to this issue

In Leeds we have a team of 6 officers dedicated to tackling this issues who work alongside the Neighbourhood Policing Teams. They do pro-active patrols in hot spot areas and also link in with local NPT’s to have days of action to try target the bikes and quad bikes.

This is not just a West Yorkshire issue but is a national issue where most forces have seen an increase in this type of activity over the past couple of years.

As well as the policing response we also work with partners to provide a wider response, this includes working with Leeds City Council to target harden areas to restrict access and also working with youth services and youth provisions to educate people on not only the legislation but also the dangers of this type of activity.

We have had many successes in targeting nuisance bikes with a number of vehicles seized and riders prosecuted.

On 14 March officers were alerted by members of the public to a group of illegal bikers riding around Middleton Park. The Off Road Bike Team attended and quickly sighted a group of 4 bikes riding dangerously near the children’s playground. The group tried to evade police, however two of the bikes were seized and the riders reported for a number of offences (photo above).


This post was written by Inspector Lucy Leadbeater of the South Leeds Neighbourhood Policing Team