Motorcyclists indignant over criticism they have ''taken over'' Royal National Park

RECREATIONAL motorcyclists have hit back at claims they have "taken over" the Royal National Park and are keen to work with authorities to address problems.

Our park, too": Motor bike riders deny causing "mayhem" in Royal National Park. Steph Di Val, Craig Browne (leader of the weekly riding group Sydney Knights), Justin Dorward (Motorcycle Council of NSW), Troy Provost (Ducati Owners Club of NSW) and Peter Dunn . Picture: Lisa McMahon.

Our park, too": Motor bike riders deny causing "mayhem" in Royal National Park. Steph Di Val, Craig Browne (leader of the weekly riding group Sydney Knights), Justin Dorward (Motorcycle Council of NSW), Troy Provost (Ducati Owners Club of NSW) and Peter Dunn . Picture: Lisa McMahon.

The Motorcycle Council of NSW, bike clubs and individual riders were angry they were not represented at a meeting to discuss residents' complaints of noise, speeding and antisocial behaviour.

The cyclists blamed the problems on a small minority of highly visible riders and "hoons" in cars.

The Leader website was bombarded with hundreds of comments after last week's report and a common theme was "It's our park too!".

Postings by motorcyclists greatly outnumbered those from readers supporting the residents' complaints.

Heathcote MP Lee Evans organised this month's meeting between residents, police and government agency officials.

Mr Evans said it was the first time all parties had met to discuss the situation.

However, Motorcycle Council of NSW executive committee member Justin Dorward said it was absurd "all parties" did not include at least one motorcyclist.

Mr Dorward said his organisation, representing 38 clubs and 36,000 riders, had achieved very positive outcomes after working with residents and interested parties in other council areas on similar matters.

"To hear about this meeting through the media and not be given the opportunity to answer questions or have a right of reply was very disappointing," he said.

"The Motorcycle Council is keen to contribute towards issues raised by residents and work with the region's authorities and stakeholders, recognising it is the very visible minority that is attracting undesirable attention."

Craig Browne, leader of the Sydney Knights group, which rides mainly on week nights, said 99 per cent of riders observed the speed limit through the park and most would not be on loud bikes.

"There would be 10 cars on the road for every bike," he said.

"Our group would have a maximum of 20 riders in winter and 50 in summer and we are one of the larger groups.

"We go down through the park about 8.30pm and come back up the expressway because we don't want to upset anyone with noise at late hours."

GREAT LOCATION TO RIDE

Steph Di Val, who organised a group of motorcyclists for an interview, has ridden for two years with the Sydney Knights, Sydney’s Riders, Hills Riders, Girls Ride Out, Ducati Owners’ Club NSW and Sydney Ducati Club.

‘‘We are no different to any other recreational user of the park,’’ she said.

‘‘We enjoy the area because it’s beautiful and do not wish to change that fact.

‘‘We do our best to share it with other users and we certainly don’t try to ruin anyone’s fun. It would be nice to feel more welcome because it would be a shame for it to lose the tourist revenue and the ability to share our passion in this great location.’’

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