Antrim and Newtownabbey motorbike awareness course venue change after complaints

A motorcycle awareness project postponed since the autumn is set to wheel into action next month at a change of venue following complaints.

The initiative supported by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, in association with the PSNI, Housing Executive and Department of Justice, had been due to take place on vacant land owned by Invest NI at Global Point, outside Glengormley, last autumn.

However, concerns raised by business tenants at the site meant the project could not proceed as planned, a report presented to to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Community Planning Committee has stated.

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The course will now switch to a location at Townland Road, Crumlin, to commence on May 16.

Global Point entrance. Pic Google

Councillors were told: “The Motorcycle Awareness Project (MAP) youth education programme has been developed to address anti-social problems connected with the illegal damaging and frequently dangerous use of off-road motorcycles in some locations in the borough.

“A priority objective is to promote understanding of the dangers associated with off-road motorcycling and teach the fundamental skills needed to ride safely.

“The programme focuses on early intervention for young people who are involved, or likely to become involved in anti-social behaviour through the use of off-road motorcycles, with participants to be identified by PSNI and other

partner agencies.”

The cost of the motorcycle awareness project is almost £19,000 with the council paying half.

Participants will be able to avail of four-hour sessions on specially adapted motorbikes to reduce noise during a six-week period.

Anti-social behaviour increased in Antrim and Newtownabbey during lockdown and Covid restrictions to 5,112 incidents reported  between March 2020 until February 2021.

PSNI statistics show that it has since decreased to 3,879 in the borough for the period between March 2021 until February 2022.

The change of venue was proposed by Threemilewater Alliance Councillor Julie Gilmour, chair, of Antrim and Newtownabbey Policing and Community Safety Partnership at a meeting of the council’s Community Planning Committee on Monday evening, seconded by Glengormley Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Goodman.

Commenting on the initiative previously, Antrim and Newtownabbey Mayor Councillor Billy Webb said: “The programme focuses on early intervention and education for young people who are involved, or could potentially become involved, in anti-social behaviour through the use of off-road motorcycles.

“We have been working closely with partner organisations in finding a resolution for anti-social behaviour linked to the use of off-road motorcycles and we feel this could help change attitudes and behaviours across the borough.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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