Motorcyclists are not allowed to “just go for a ride” under the current Covid-19 lockdown rules, police say.
The comments come amid concern about the large number of bikers who have visited the Dales since the lockdown was eased on Wednesday.
Residents of Hawes have been particularly concerned after bikers parked up in the town centre.
Commenting on the large number of motorcycles that have been seen in the Yorkshire Dales since the lockdown rules were altered last week, Inspector Mark Gee, from Richmondshire neighbourhood policing team, said bikers who were just going for a ride out were actually breaking the law.
“Social distancing” bikers in Hawes today. At least 18 packed into our tiny filling station. Get ready for the 2nd wave in a few weeks. ?? @RishiSunak @Conservatives @richmond_today @NYorksPolice @yorkshire_dales pic.twitter.com/nSWMP9Tc96
— Steven Ward (@SWARD34) May 17, 2020
He said: “Many motorcyclists genuinely seem to think they are legally covered to just go for a ride out.
“Under the current regulations this is simply not the case.
“We know that the majority of riders don’t want to cause any harm or upset to local communities, but they need to realise that if they break the law as it stands the police will have to take action.”
He added: “If you are unsure of the law, please consult the Government website – www.gov.uk – and check if your travel and visit is going to be lawful before setting off.
“I appreciate it is a confusing time but ignorance is no excuse in law – you need to cover yourself.”
In response to the comments, many bikers have questioned the statement on social media and in comments on this story saying they are not doing anything illegal by going for a ride.
But Insp Gee today stood by his comments.
He added: “The Government regulations are published but I can see a debate around interpretation.
“My point is simply you need to have a justifiable reason. This may well be exercise or relaxation as per government guidelines.
“But it’s about knowing why you are out and about and therefore making people consider their actions.”
Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council chair Jill McMullon said there was a lot of people in Hawes very worried about the issue.
“I heard them coming past my house at 8am this morning and they’ve never stopped since.
“The majority of them aren’t social distancing, some are but most aren’t and it’s totally exasperating.”
Cllr McMullon said the police had been on patrol in Hawes today which had helped.
“They have been a lot more visible today and they have been in the town for a quite a long time, but it’s like they had some kind of antenna — as soon as they police go they all come back.”
The councillor said there would be no shops or takeaways open at all in Hawes tomorrow as businesses had decided it had been too busy in recent days, with the toilets in the town centre also closed.
“If they come and park up there will be nothing to do other than admire their bikes and we’d rather they didn’t do that.” [kofi]