A COMMUNITY is demanding urgent action to stop joyriding motorbike thieves after a ten-year-old boy suffered “horrific” injuries when he was knocked down on a pedestrian crossing.
The crossing, close to Drylaw police station on Ferry Road, was showing the green man when the youngster walked across and was hit by a motorcycle at around 6.35pm on Saturday. He was rushed to the Sick Kids Hospital with serious injuries.
Police said two motorcycles, each ridden by one person, appeared to have gone through a red light and the second one – a Triumph Daytona 650cc stolen in the city earlier – struck the boy. The rider carried on for a short distance before abandoning the bike and running off.
READ MORE: Mum praises “brave” son after Drylaw motorbike hit-and-run
Police are conducting door-to-door inquiries and examining CCTV footage from the area. Detective Chief Inspector Paul Grainger said: “This was a terrifying incident which could easily have had fatal consequences.”
The boy’s mother said yesterday he was still “critical but stable” and was having surgery. “He has been so brave, braver than I could ever be. I’m so proud of him, he’s my wee trooper.”
She thanked the many people who had sent messages and best wishes for her son.
Motorcycle crime is a persistent problem in North Edinburgh and residents said they had warned a serious accident was bound to happen.
Robert Pearson, of Tenants and Residents in Muirhouse (Trim) said: “The circumstances surrounding this accident are downright disgusting.
“These motorbikes are totally out of control. It was only a matter of time before an innocent person was seriously injured.
“Our elected members – councillors, MSPs and MPs – need to do something about it and they need to stop blaming the police. The police can only do so much. It’s up to the justice system to have tougher outcomes for offenders.
“We cannot allow a situation to continue where children crossing the road at a pedestrian crossing are mown down by motorbikes.
“How many more need to get seriously injured or killed before those who can make a difference actually do make a difference?
“And we would say to parents, if they know their children are involved in motorbike crime they need to do everything possible to stop them.”
Residents took to social media to voice their sympathy for the boy and his family and their frustration at the failure to end the joyriding.
Calum Steele, general secretary of the Scottish Police Federation, posted a message within hours of the accident: “One of the most under pressure areas for policing, Drylaw, where motorcycles run amok almost daily, is picking up the pieces this evening.
“I’ve seen countless messages from locals who despair at lawlessness in their areas and recognising a grossly overstretched police service, who are doing their damnedest, just simply don’t have enough resources to deal with the problem.”
Roy Douglas, chair of Muirhouse Salvesen community council, said he was deeply saddened by the accident.
“Residents knew it was something that was going to happen and it adds fuel to the fire,” he said.
“The whole city is getting frustrated by this – and sickened.”
He said there had been a lull in antisocial behaviour at the start of the summer holidays after police action against the motorbike thieves.
But he claimed the courts were not tough enough on the youngsters who were prosecuted.
“The sheriffs are too lenient. The police do a power of work dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s on the reports and then the kids go free from court, which is two fingers up to the cops outside.”
Edinburgh Western Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton, who represents the area, said: “This is a devastating incident that very sadly was certain to happen at some point, given the volume and nature of the motorbike crime in the north-west of the city.
“The police have been doing a fantastic job to crack down on motorcycle racing, particularly at the start of the summer, but this collision brings into stark relief the scale of the problem.
“We need to work across the courts, schools and the community to ensure that young people are diverted from this kind of behaviour and sentenced appropriately if they are caught up in it.
“My thoughts are with the young boy and his family and I hope that this accident will serve as a powerful lesson to those who might be thinking of racing bikes in Edinburgh tonight.”
In June last year, Brad Williamson, 14, was killed when he was thrown from a stolen motorbike after it crashed with a car in Silverknowes Road.
Ben Macpherson, SNP MSP for Edinburgh Northern and Leith, who organised a letter from several local MSPs to the Lord Advocate on the joyriding problem last year, said he was horrified to learn of Saturday’s accident.
He said: “My thoughts are with this young boy, his family and the wider community.
“I will continue to work with everyone involved with Stronger North, including the police and the community to do all I can to help tackle this significant and totally unacceptable problem of antisocial motorbike theft and joy-riding in North Edinburgh.”
He said he had written to the Scottish Government within the last few weeks, asking whether more could be done, including support for youth work in the area. I will be following up the correspondence in the coming days.”