Edinburgh Park group bids to drive bikers away for good

RESIDENTS have launched a campaign to force bikers out of a city park amid fears for public safety.

Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 9:54 am
Updated Wednesday, 17th August 2016, 5:43 pm
Local resident Bruce Bennet by Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park where youths have been causing havoc. Picture: Greg Macvean
Local resident Bruce Bennet by Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park where youths have been causing havoc. Picture: Greg Macvean

The Evening News told last month how a mother had to hurl her baby to safety as rowdy quad bikers sped towards her while she was enjoying an afternoon stroll in Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park.

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Mum hurls baby into bush to dodge quad bikes in Edinburgh park

Jenni Orr, 28, threw the pram containing her six-month-old baby, George, into a nearby bush to protect him, but the two bikers crashed into her dog and sent him flying into the river.

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The Friends of Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park say there is a growing problem with quad and trail bikers in the park.

Police and council community wardens have been conducting joint patrols and two bikes have recently been confiscated by the police.

Now the Friends group has launched a campaign to highlight the problem, encourage people to report incidents and press for official action over the bikers to be stepped up.

Council rules for parks prohibit cars, motorbikes, quad bikes and other vehicles except on roads and in car parks.

Bruce Bennet, secretary of the Friends group, said: “This is a very serious issue for the park and we’re delighted that two bikes have now been confiscated and that there have been joint patrols by the police and the council. However, we’ve just had a report that bikers are now using hoodies to hide their identities, and that’s even more worrying as they will now have a restricted view as they go around the park.

“As we have recently seen from the recent tragic death in north Edinburgh and the near miss involving a young mother and baby at Burdiehouse, people could easily be seriously injured or killed.

“We will continue to work with the council and hopefully the police to encourage residents to report bikers on the non-emergency number 101.

“As the police have demonstrated, these bikes can be quickly confiscated, and that is undoubtedly the best outcome for park users and for the kids doing the biking themselves.

“This must stop, and the use of motorbikes in this lovely park must be very firmly and completely banned.”
Edinburgh South Labour MP Ian Murray hailed the group for their work in enhancing the area for everyone to enjoy.

He said: “That is much diminished by the illegal use of quad and motorbikes. It has been a problem that arises time and after time and the message must go out strongly that it is both illegal and hugely dangerous. If you are caught you will lose your bike.

“Residents need to ensure they are reporting sightings to the police and council before a serious injury or worse occurs.”

Inspector Graeme Nisbet, of St Leonards police station, said: “We are aware of concerns raised to us about incidents at Burdiehouse park. Local officers will be carrying out additional patrols.”