A JUDGE has warned of the dangers of quad bikes after a disqualified driver was on a quad with a seven-year-old girl for whom the machine had been bought for her birthday.
District Judge Nigel Broderick, speaking at Antrim Magistrates Court sitting in Ballymena, said: “How many times have we opened the newspapers or turned on the news to find somebody has been sadly fatally injured in a quad bike accident?”
He was speaking as Christopher McGolpin (30), of Craighill in Antrim, was in court for sentencing on charges of driving whilst disqualified and being uninsured at Craighill in the Ballycraigy estate at 4.40pm on November 20 last year.
A prosecutor said police saw the defendant and a child on the quad bike on a public road and they stopped the defendant 200 yards away.
A defence barrister said “they got the bike for her birthday”.
The defendant had bought the quad and “built it for the child” and although there had been an “element of recklessness” he “put the child in a helmet but not himself”.
The lawyer said McGolpin had taken the child “for a spin” and there was no allegation of speed or “any bad driving”.
The barrister said the defendant accepted the “foolishness” of what he had done.
Judge Broderick told McGolpin: “To place a seven-year-old on a quad and then you hop on it as well, this had the potential to be a very serious accident. There are far too many road traffic collisions with fatal consequences.
“Quads can serve a purpose but they can be dangerous because you can come off them and there is no protection once you come off them.
“Even for an adult they are dangerous but for a child they are even more so because they are obviously more fragile given their youth”.
The judge gave the defendant a “last chance” and put him on Probation for a year; banned him from driving for a year and extended the period of an existing four months suspended jail term for another year.