Antisocial use of a vehicle, such as street racing, street cruising or off-road use is more than a matter of noise pollution – though this can be the most noticeable problem. Find out below about the different kinds of vehicle nuisance, their long-term effect on a neighbourhood and what you can do about it.

Common types of vehicle nuisance

Street racing

Street racing is the illegal racing of any kind of vehicle on a public road.

Street racing is extremely dangerous as it can involve high speeds, weaving through traffic and ignoring traffic signals like red lights. This obviously puts other road users and members of the public in an extremely dangerous position.

The only time street racing is permitted is when the organiser has obtained prior permission from the police as part of an organised event.

Street cruising

Street cruising is when a group of vehicle owners form a convoy and drive up and down a street or around a neighbourhood – usually to show off their cars or bikes. They’ll often drive slowly and may even take up both sides of the road. This can hold up traffic behind and make things really difficult for other road users.

Riding unlicensed powered vehicles

It’s against the law in the UK to ride hoverboards, minibikes (or ‘mini motos’), motorised scooters such as GoPeds on both public roads and pavements. The same applies to ‘trail’ bikes, three-wheeled bikes and quads unless they are displaying valid number plates.

These kind of vehicles may only be used on private roads or land with the road or land-owner’s permission.

Misusing vehicles off-road

While quad bikes, three-wheeled bikes, trail bikes and some other two-wheeled vehicles are built for off-road use, it is against the law to ride them in public parks or on publicly-owned land without permission from the local authority.

As with unlicensed powered vehicles, these can only be used on private roads or land with the road or land-owner’s permission.

Performing stunts and tricks

Performing stunts and tricks such as doughnuts and wheelies, whether on public roads or in car parks, can be dangerous to both the driver or rider and bystanders. It can also cause noise nuisance, especially if taking place at night in residential areas.

For this reason, this kind of behaviour is not permitted unless as part of an organised event with prior permission from the local authority.

What is the impact?

Some people regard this kind of vehicle use as harmless fun. However, regular antisocial vehicle use can have a wider impact on a neighbourhood or community than simply nuisance noise.

The effect of dangerous or reckless use of a vehicle can lead to criminal damage of roads, other vehicles and surrounding property.

Drivers and riders also risk injuring themselves, other road users, cyclists and pedestrians as they do not have full control of their vehicle and their full attention on their surroundings.

Driving or riding in this way can also be used as a form of intimidation, either to other road users or the community. Loud noise from engines and music, and deliberately creating large amounts of exhaust or tyre smoke can also be seen as an aggressive act.

Finally, the use of motorbikes and mopeds to rob (or 'snatch') mobile phones and valuables from pedestrians on pavements is a key concern to the police. So anyone acting recklessly on this kind of vehicle is likely to draw police attention.

What you can do

If you know the people involved, or they seem approachable, our first advice would be to talk to them calmly or leave them a polite note. You might find it hard to believe, but they may not be aware they’re causing a problem.

However, don’t take the law into your own hands by intervening, such as turning off their music, making physical threats or attempting to confiscate items. You may make the situation worse and even risk committing an offence yourself.

If talking hasn’t worked, or you would prefer not to talk to them, there are two ways you can get in touch: