Police on the trail of riders

By Ewen McRae

Trail bike riders and four-wheel drivers were in the spotlight as part of a police operation around Ballan and Trentham at the weekend.

Operation Dorset focused on the Lerderderg State Park and Wombat State Forest, following similar successful operations in the area earlier this year.

Victoria Police uniform and Highway Patrol officers joined forces with Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning for the operation.

Sergeant Michael Kearnes said trail bike riders and four-wheel drivers make up nearly 20 per cent of all serious injuries in these regional areas.

He said Lerderderg and Wombat park attracted large numbers of recreational motorcyclists and four-wheel enthusiasts because of the area’s challenging terrain and it’s proximity to Melbourne.

“We’re talking mostly about men, over 45 years of age who are licensed and registered owners of trail bikes and four-wheel drive vehicles, not random drivers,” Sergeant Kearnes said.

“We’ve discovered that not only are these recreational trail-bike riders putting themselves in positions beyond their ability, but in locations beyond the capacity of their vehicles.

“Our message to park users and recreational riders is please be safe.

“We’re aiming to educate all drivers about safety and to ensure they comply with the rules and regulations of these state forests and parks.”