It took a teenager’s death and a police crackdown, but the sounds of illegal trail bikes have subsided in one Shellharbour neighbourhood, residents say.
Shane Puckeridge, 19, was not wearing a helmet when he rode what police say was an unregistered trail bike into the back of a ute parked on Glider Avenue at Blackbutt, on May 23.
The tragedy followed a prolonged period of complaints from residents, one of whom contacted police more than 100 times to report illegal riding on area paths, parkland and roads.
Police and Shellharbour City Council launched an offensive against the bikes at the start of the school holidays.
On Saturday, residents of the Blackbutt Forest Reserve neighbourhood told the Mercury many riders appeared to have been deterred.
“It [riding activity] actually escalated after this incident,” said one woman, gesturing to a roadside tribute at the reserve, near where Mr Puckeridge died.
“They [riders] were fluffing their feathers.
“It continued quite heavily until there was a bit of an intervention by neighbours to ask them to stop doing what they were doing. Police came and asked them to stop.”
Another resident said he had scarcely heard the bikes, believed to originate from the same group of people, in recent weeks.
“It’s maybe three times a week, instead of 50 times a week," he said.
Fines of $650 apply for using an unregistered or uninsured vehicle. Penalties also apply for riding unlicensed ($541) and riding with out a helmet ($325).
Council has created an online form to encourage reporting, as the crackdown continues.
When we asked our readers to tell us where trailbikes were a problem in the Illawarra, we received more than 200 responses. See the reported hot spots in the map below.
The story Since the Blackbutt trailbike tragedy, some silence first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.