Quad bike warning after crash
Hoons will not be welcome at two popular beaches after a man was badly hurt doing skids at speed.
Holiday policing measures at Wairarapa's Castlepoint and Riversdale beaches this year include a hard line on hoons, especially quad bike users, as well as the usual liquor bans.
Locals say the harsher measures cannot come soon enough.
''People come to the beach and take it like a 40-acre paddock and think they can do anything they like on it. Until somebody gets hurt, nothing gets done,'' said Castlepoint Store owner Devon Oakly.
Wairarapa police sergeant Mike Sutton said the measures are partly a reaction to an accident earlier this month where a 22-year-old Pahiatua shearer hit soft sand driving at speed and flipped. He was flown to Wellington Hospital and spent time in intensive care. Two passengers, who were wearing seatbelts, were uninjured.
Mr Sutton said beaches are legally classed as roads, so the speed limit is 50kmh unless a lower limit is posted. The Castlepoint lagoon beach has a posted limit of 20kmh.
Police would confiscate cars been driven dangerously on the beaches and drivers could lose their licenses, he said.
Extra police will patrol at Castlepoint and Riversdale during New Years Eve and enforce a 24-hour liquor ban for all public areas from 6pm on December 30 to 6pm January 1, as well as a vehicle ban on the beach from December 31. Breaching that ban could lead to an instant $250 fine, Mr Sutton said.
Police will also fine beach-goers up to $400 to enforce tighter restrictions on quad bike use because it was ''only a matter of time'' until someone was badly hurt on one, Mr Sutton said.
Mr Oakly said he didn't want to see people stopped from driving on the beach altogether but applauded police for trying to make drivers of quads, motorbikes and other vehicles ''calm down''.
''Just stop those buggers hooning around when they get onto the beach - there are little kids running across into the water. They take the beach like a road but there'd be 10 times as many people down on the beach than on the roads out here.''
After the December 12 crash Castlepoint Holiday Park owner Anders Crofoot said ''hooning'' on the beach was common and put beach-goers in danger.
Quad bike restrictions over the holiday period at Castlepoint and Riversdale beaches:
1. Riders must hold either a class 1 (car) or class 6 (motorbike) licence.
2. They must wear a safety-approved helmet.
3. Quad bikes must not exceed 30kmh.
4. If passengers are carried, the driver must hold a full licence.
5. No more than 2 passengers, and they must not sit forward of the driver.
6. Quads used on a road must have current registration and licence plate.
The Dominion Post