Thrillseekers risk death on toddler toys
THRILLSEEKERS are using plastic children's toys to career down busy roads, reaching speeds up to 70km/h.
Footage of the "sliders" show them speeding along winding roads on the three-wheelers, sliding on to the wrong side of the road and narrowly missing vehicles.
In one video posted on YouTube, a slider spills from his plastic trike at high speed, landing in the path of a car which is forced to swerve around him.
The latest extreme craze has prompted warnings from police who have been called at least eight times by concerned residents and motorists in the past six months.
The "Huffy" brand sliders are children's tricycles with a bicycle front tyre and pedals and rear wheels designed to make the back slide sideways.
Groups such as the "East Siders Sliders" have been gathering regularly to test the limits of the toys on roads.
One of the group's founders, Jon Falzon, 22, of Rostrevor, said they started riding the trikes as a joke.
"One of my mates bought one as a joke because it says aged 12-16 on the box," he said.
"We started going higher and faster on them, bought 10 from Toys-R-Us and now it's really big."
The East Siders Sliders have a list of "awards" on their Facebook page, bragging about each time the police question their actions.
One member also said the police attended their meetings almost every time they were held.
"We get a lot of negative feedback from people in the area because they do make a lot of noise from the plastic wheels," Mr Falzon said.
"We have been stopped by the police eight times from people calling saying we're being reckless. They (police) say there's nothing wrong with this."
But all the fun and games are not without incident.
Last month the group was hurtling down Coach Rd, Skye, at 70km/h when Nyron Viccajee tried to overtake Mr Falzon and lost control, causing him to flip on to the road.
"I just slightly turned and I flipped and hit my head, sliding along the road," Mr Viccajee said.
"The helmet saved me. I felt like I was sliding forever and I just wanted it to stop."
Mr Falzon filmed the crash on a portable camera fixed to his helmet.
"I just heard the sound of scraping metal and I turned around and Nyron was down," Mr Falzon said.
The acting officer in charge of the Traffic Support Branch, Inspector Andrew Thiele, said sliders could be used only on low-speed roads.
"Wheeled recreational devices can only be ridden on a road that has a speed limit no greater than 50km/h and does not have a painted centre line," he said. "They can only be used during the day and cannot be used at night."
He said there could be a risk to life if used incorrectly.
"Reckless behaviour that shows a complete disregard for the road rules and other road users has the capacity to cause death and serious injury," Insp Thiele said.
He pleaded with slider groups to "abide by all road rules".