This is our local experience to date.

For many years off-road, trail-type motorbikes were ridden frequently and illegally on bridleways and footpaths in the southern fells of the Lake District in England, the local authorities being apparently unable to prevent them.

From the end of 2005 the problem became critical with the escalation of the activity onto and all over the open fells, causing extensive and shocking damage. (See Photo Gallery.)


A number of solutions have been tried over the years.

Complaints to the English Lake District National Park Authority

Repeated complaints to the National Park Authority did not work. The NPA do not have the resources to mount and maintain effective prevention, and they do not have the legal authority to enforce any ban.

Complaints to the Cumbria Police

A year's worth of on-the-spot, at-the-time reports to the local police did not work. The reports helped them to build up a profile of the activity, but did not result in enforcement. The police always have other priorities for their time and resources.  However, the situation has improved recently to the extent that we now advocate Immediate Reporting in addition to the solutions proposed below.

Complaints to the Offenders
Attempts to stop and speak to offending motorcyclists met with very limited success. There are decent, well-intentioned motorcyclists who genuinely do not know that they are out of bounds and who, if spoken to courteously, welcome being informed. However, the majority of the offenders either do know or do not want to know and will not stop to be informed. This method is therefore not recommended.

Set up CCTVs
The deployment of CCTVs at incident black spots, to be monitored, maintained and recharged by volunteers, met with refusal based on higher priority for the equipment and on the difficulty in obtaining legal permission for such surveillance.

Clearly, current methods of prevention and enforcement
are insufficient in themselves.

The authorities say that they need tangible evidence before they can act,

but are unable to devote the resources necessary to gather that evidence for themselves.

A new and different approach is urgently needed.

can help to gather that evidence.

proposes ways to gather that evidence.


we can
rogue motorcycling.


PROPOSAL 1        Take photographs 

Go out armed at all times with a camera (preferably digital), and be willing and ready to use it to photograph the number plate of any offending vehicle. Set up the camera in advance to maximum resolution (see your camera's instructions if in doubt), and be prepared to use it at maximum zoom. Make sure that the flash is turned off.

Do not try to stop rogue motorcyclists;
1. your single objective should be to gather the photographic evidence. Trying to stop them confuses the issue and gets in the way of that objective;
2. you may become involved in an argument.

Instead, CAMARM suggests that you turn your back to the approach of the motorbike(s) and concentrate on the back number plate. (Front number plates are not a legal requirement on motorbikes and are seldom found, particularly on trail-type motorbikes.) At the same time try to note and memorise that number plate; it may help to inform an unclear or lost photograph.


Be aware that the situation could turn nasty if you are noticed. Try, if possible, to take your photos unobserved, either by position or by method. An example of position could be from behind a rock or large tree. A possible method could be "shooting from the hip", although this requires considerable practice to be sure of hitting your target.

If in any doubt whether the flash is off or not, don't photograph.  Flash is particularly noticeable in wing mirrors.

Ultimately, the balance between your safety and obtaining the evidence has to be your own decision.

If you do have to speak to motorcyclists in the wrong, remain courteous; do not get involved in argument; avoid confrontation.


Take photographs of the riders as they are departing, and also as they disappear. These will help to identify the riders (the number identifies only the bike, not the rider) and the route by which they leave.

Photograph the setting to fix the location of the incident. Take note of the date and time; even if your camera has time stamping, the setting may be wrong.

Give the photographs, with detailed enlargements if possibleto your local police station. The police will also need a statement.  Be sure to get an incident log number; this is both for your own records and to ensure that your report is properly logged. (But see also Immediate Reporting.)

Be aware, however, that there are off-road routes that are permitted to motorcyclists.  Responsible riding on these routes is a legitimate activity and those doing so will not welcome being criticised or photographed without their permission.  It is important therefore to be sure of your own ground and, if you do speak to motorcyclists off-road, to allow for the possibility that they may well have a legitimate right to be there.  In Cumbria you can find a list of these routes with maps, on their website at

To be of any value to the police your photographs must show evidence of an offence being committed.

The photographs can be in printed or disk form, and can be handed in personally or sent by post. It is unlikely that any police station will welcome your photos as email attachments.

"Rogue motorcyclists rely for their protection on
speed, anonymity and the isolation of observers."

By taking photographs we can break down the anonymity and provide identity.
By acting in concert as a multiplicity of individuals we can overcome the isolation of walkers. 

Immediate Reporting
Since creating this website, and particularly since November 2008, the immediate reporting of incidents has resulted in commendably rapid response from the local police and the catching of some offenders.  These incidents have demonstrated the benefit of immediate reporting and we now strongly recommend it in addition to the taking of photographs.

PROPOSAL 2        Make contact


Set up a network of local residents who are prepared to contact each other when trail bikes are heading in their direction, so that those in the line of approach can try to put themselves in likely positions to photograph any offending motorbike as they pass.

"Rogue motorcyclists rely for their protection on
speed, anonymity and the isolation of observers."

There is nothing that we can do about the speed at which the bikes travel, but by providing that vital early warning we can overcome the speed of their approach.
By setting up a network of local residents we can overcome the isolation of observers.

This proposal is an attempt to overcome the protection of speed. Early warning of approach is vital.

PROPOSAL 3        Take friends


Get together with a group of five or six like-minded people who are prepared to "waste" a day. Take camera, mobile phone, binoculars and any necessary items of comfort, such as book, picnic and cushion. Place yourselves at strategic observation points to cover a wide area in which illegal motorbike activity is likely to occur. Keep in touch and give early warning of any approaching activity. If approached, act as for Proposal 1 above.

CAMARM advocates this course of action only if there is a strong possibility of success.

"Rogue motorcyclists rely for their protection on
speed, anonymity and the isolation of observers."

This Proposal attacks the aspects of speed of approach and isolation. If successful, anonymity can be broken.

PROPOSAL 4        Make waves

Publicise CAMARM. Talk about the campaign, its aims and its proposals.
Spread the word. Tell fellow walkers. Take the campaign home to your own local area.
Download and distribute our leaflet and flier.
Add a link to on your own website.

The more that concerned people become aware and become involved, the greater will be our success, and the sooner it will be achieved.

PROPOSAL 5        Make space

Lobby for the creation of legitimate sites.

Off-road motorbiking is a perfectly legitimate activity, and those taking part need to be able to indulge in their sport without hassle from the public or fear of prosecution by the authorities.

However, the location that many are currently choosing for this activity is both illegitimate and totally unacceptable.

One reason for this choice, which makes it understandable even if still indefensible, is the lack of sufficient alternative venues that are sufficiently challenging to meet their needs.

CAMARM does not wish to ban the sport.
CAMARM does wish to prevent the despoiling of the fells and open spaces by those that claim they have no alternative.

CAMARM therefore recommends that you lobby your MP, your Local Council, your County Council, your local newspapers and anyone else you can think of to provide facilities sufficient to satisfy the legitimate needs of off-road motorcyclists.

CAMARM's overall aim is to make itself redundant.
It will have succeeded when it's no longer needed.

Ask not Why they don’t do something about itAsk What you can do to help to stop it

Go ARMed with a CAMera            Go armed with CAMARM

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