Steiner cracks down on motorcycles, scooters, dirt bikes, golf carts  

By LYNETTE HAALAND, Four Points News

The Steiner Ranch HOA just started enforcing fines on the drivers of motorcycles, scooters, dirt bikes and golf carts who are in violation of the community rules and laws of Travis County.  

At the July 18 Steiner Ranch Master Association Board of Directors meeting, the motorbike policy was added into the records and stricter enforcement now includes a newly added $500 fine per incident for violators.

“It is the board’s intention to protect all of our residents, including these children.  The reckless behavior – jumping off of hills, brake-checking cars, violating traffic laws, full throttle speeding, popping wheelies on roads – especially on the roads, at the parks, and on the trails must stop immediately,” said Rachel McGilvray, SRMA secretary and district 2 director.

“One person has been seriously injured, and we don’t want to see anymore accidents in Steiner Ranch,” McGilvray said. “Please take the bikes to proper tracks, designed for these motorized bikes and rider safety. It is not legal to ride them in the neighborhood. Please do not let your children ride these powerful motorcycles without supervision.”

At the June 22 SRMA monthly board meeting, a mother and son attended and shared what happened to them to highlight their concerns.

The son, a champion mountain biker, was forced off of the sidewalk and injured on June 13 because a kid on a dirt bike played “chicken” and followed him into a head-on situation. The mountain biker ended up going over his handlebars and injuring his elbow badly, according to McGilvray.

Also at the June meeting, the SRMA board and community members heard from Lt. Jason Jewert, Sgt. Don Rios and Sgt. Nate Matteson. These members of the Travis County Sheriff’s Office talked about the laws and rules in place.

“Electric assist bikes, mountain bikes, scooters, road bikes, etc. can be used on the sidewalks at safe speeds,” the Sheriff’s Office shared at the meeting. 

Any vehicle capable of going 28 mph or more must be driven on a street and must follow Texas laws. Only fully licensed drivers on registered vehicles are allowed on public roads, they shared.

“Since dirt bikes cannot be registered in Texas, they are not legal on the roads, nor are they legal on sidewalks. Do not drive dirt bikes, motorcycles, or throttle powered electric bikes on the sidewalks,” the Sheriff’s Office explained.

There have also been issues with trespassing in Steiner. Motorized vehicles are not allowed on the trails or HOA property including parks, grass, fields, sidewalks, basketball courts, and tennis courts. Using motorized vehicles in these areas is trespassing and is punishable by law including tickets and fines, according to McGilvray.

Although the activity continues, the board has tried educating the community through emails like this for the better part of a year: 

“Please remember that motorized vehicles are prohibited from driving on the HOA’s trails and common areas. These vehicles cause damage to landscaping and pose a risk to those walking or biking. Thank you for your cooperation and support as we strive for a safe environment for our families. Please also be aware of state and county restrictions for usage on public streets.”

At the June 22 SRMA meeting, the board discussed looking into anti-motorbike gates at trailheads but pointed out that that would cost all residents. It also encouraged residents to share photos and videos of riders violating the rules to the HOA office. 

Additionally the Steiner Ranch Mountain Bike Team is highly motivated to help the HOA prevent more injuries or damages to trails and riders, according to a coach with SRMBT. The coach suggested educating homeowners and installing security cameras at well-known locations to help identify illegal riders.  

The Sheriff’s Office urges community residents to take things one step further and call 9-1-1 for “reckless behavior” when these fast bikes are in locations that are not permitted.  

According to officers, this ensures the fastest response time by the nearest officer. Sgt. Matteson stated that he maintains at least one deputy on Quinlan Park Road from 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. most days.

The Sheriff’s Office says to make sure to provide a description of the bike, the rider, and the helmet, but do not follow them. It is perfectly ok to take a photo or a video of the culprit for documentation. If this is on HOA property, the HOA manager may be called in to pursue charges for damages and trespassing. At best, the rider will receive a warning, but most likely will receive a citation, the officers shared. The rider will be instructed to walk the bike home and a police visitation to parents will be eminent.