There are bikers and there are ‘bikers’

Recently, we wrote this piece about the issues caused by quad and scrambler bikers using part of the new park on the western edge of Stanford-le-Hope as an unofficial ‘circuit’: Someone’s been having a ‘churn up’! The increase in off road scrambler and quad biking is currently an issue in a number of locations across Thurrock: Rogue riders and rising bike crime in borough is running out of control in some areas councillors are told.

As we’ve written previously, the issue on the western edge of Stanford-le-Hope mainly appears to be one of an established number of bikers wanting to carry on using a ‘circuit’ they were using before the new park was created. This is something that with a bit of creative thinking, common sense and goodwill on all sides could be resolved, preferably with a permanent location being found so the bikers can zoom around to their heart’s content without getting in the faces of those of us who just want a quiet walk. However, there have also been sporadic elements of yobs on scrambler bikes not sticking to the ‘circuit’, using their bikes in other areas of the park and being a right fecking nuisance in the process.

Reading through the report from Thurrock Nub News linked to above, it would seem that the issues in other areas of the borough are very much tending towards the anti-social bastards end of the spectrum as opposed to those bikers who just want a permanent circuit. This is what we wrote about a number of the anti-social scrotes and their antics in Chadwell St. Mary towards the end of last year: How do we deal with a problem like this?

There’s no easy, one size fits all solution to the issue of off road scrambler and quad bikers because of the range of people involved in the activity. There’s an element who can be negotiated with on the one hand and on the other, there’s a nihilistic element who genuinely don’t give a shit about anyone else. If a long term solution is to be found, it would help if the cops and the local media could differentiate between the different elements engaging in off road biking. We reckon the local media are savvy enough to learn the difference, we’re a lot less certain about the cops…

This has been going on for decades with peaks and troughs in biker activity and consequent cop intervention and the issue is still with us. The cops have said they’ve noticed an increase in activity since the start of the lockdowns and tiered restrictions that started in March 2020. We’ve certainly noticed an increase in activity. The cops reckon it’s down to boredom. That provides a partial explanation. However, when it comes to the really anti-social element of scrambler bikers, some of who have reportedly pulled knives on people who’ve challenged them, there are other factors at play.

One is the fact that school and further education students have spent a lot of the last year learning from home online. That may be workable for those students who are motivated to learn. Without face to face contact with teachers/instructors to encourage/push them, there will be an element of kids who’ll start to fall through the cracks. The consequences of this range from mental health crises through to a nihilistic disaffection with a society that a significant minority of kids will see as having failed them. Our gut feeling is that this is what we’re seeing with the behaviour of a number of these bikers.

This explanation is not to make any excuses for this behaviour. It’s that we need to understand it in order to deal with it effectively. The scrotes indulging in this anti-social behaviour are effectively scabbing against the communities they live in. This is bad enough during normal times. In a crisis situation exacerbated by lockdowns and tiered restrictions, it’s unforgivable.

All that decades of on/off cop intervention against this has achieved is occasionally managing to put a temporary sticking plaster over the running sore that’s the issue of anti-social off road biking. At the end of the day, the solution to dealing with these individuals and their parents/’guardians’ will have to be a community led one. After all, these people live in our midst and in the absence of any long term solution from agencies such as the police, the onus is on us to work out a way of dealing with the problem that will resolve it once and for all.

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