With the commencement of the New Year, Forests NSW is again appealing to motorcycle and motor vehicle drivers to drive sensibly in State forests.
Forests NSW regional manager Gavin Jeffries said drivers should be aware that timber harvesting as well as recreation took place in State forests and logging trucks used the roads to transport timber.
“Timber trucks, bushwalkers, cyclists and native animals may also be sharing your chosen track. Other heavy equipment such as excavators, bulldozers and graders can be encountered in the forest at any time, so always drive at a speed which will allow you to stop if you meet any other vehicles,” he said.
“Harvesting signs indicate where harvesting is taking place, and drivers should not enter these areas, as they will be putting themselves at risk of being hit by trees being felled or by large machinery.”
Jeffries said it was an offence to drive an unregistered vehicle in a State forest, and this applied equally to cars and motorcycles.
“Parents often seem unaware that it is illegal for a child to ride a motorbike within a State forest. People should also be aware that quad bikes can not be registered for use on public roads and that includes State forests.
“The same laws apply to State forest roads and tracks as apply to highways. As well, drivers must wear safety equipment as required by law,” he said.
Jeffries said irresponsible use of motor bikes and vehicles within the forest not only put forest visitors at risk, but also caused significant soil erosion and environmental damage.
“The main problems come from motorbikes and 4-wheel-drives being ridden at unsafe speed, or taken onto steep fire trails, where wheel spin causes ruts that later wash out and muddy streams during heavy rainfall,” he said.
Forests NSW staff conduct regular patrols to make the forests safer for all forest users, and drivers are encouraged to ride in a safe and responsible manner on formed roads.
Forests NSW maintains an extensive network of roads and fire trails throughout its forests and registered motorcycles and motor vehicles were welcome on Forests NSW land.
“Through a commonsense and lawful approach a safe and enjoyable forest experience can be achieved for the general public and other forest users,” he said.