For a lot of people, a pleasant day out in the bush has been marred by the unnecessarily loud roar of motorbikes roaring over the dulcet sounds of a reed warbler calling its mate.
Victoria’s parks, forests and reserves have become more popular than ever for trail bike riding and four-wheel-driving over the last 12 months, and while there is an extensive network of roads and tracks open to the public, illegal off-road activity is increasing.
The Conservation Regulator has issued more than 100 infringements for off-road vehicle use by trail bike riders and four-wheel-drivers since January 1.
Riding and driving off-road can cause soil erosion and damage native vegetation. The ecosystems in our forests are fragile and vehicles can destroy wildlife habitat.
Authorised officers are patrolling key locations across the state, targeting illegal trail bike and four-wheel driving activity, and on the spot fines of $165 apply. The maximum fine for riding or driving on closed roads is $3300, while damaging wildlife habitat can result in a fine of more than $8000.
All vehicles including trail bikes must be registered, trail bike riders must hold a current motor bike licence and they must stay on the formed roads and vehicle tracks.
Acting director Regulatory Operations, Brian Hamer, said “Our officers conduct frequent patrols in state forests and use advanced surveillance technology to identify illegal off-road driving and riding.”