Wife of scrambler bike victim: ‘I don’t want to listen to a new story like ours’

Minister announces new measures to help gardaí clamp down on quads and scramblers

Anzhela Kotsinian and her husband Ilabek Avetian in Dublin before the accident, which left Mr Avetian with life-changing injuries

Anzhela Kotsinian and her husband Ilabek Avetian in Dublin before the accident, which left Mr Avetian with life-changing injuries

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On June 9th, 2018, Anzhela Kotsinian and her husband Ilabek Avetian were sunbathing in Darndale Park in Coolock, Dublin, when a scrambler bike landed on them. From that moment, their life completely changed.

Mr Avetian (41) lost an eye, experienced multiple facial fractures, and suffered a severe brain injury and haemorrhage in the incident. He now lives in a Dublin nursing home and requires full-time care.

“Our story is a very sad story. We had a big battle for Ilabek’s life. I hope that he can recover, but he is a disabled person now. He can say a few words. It’s so painful that you can’t help your love. You are trying to do everything for him, but you understand that you can’t,” Ms Kotsinian told The Irish Times.

“We didn’t have a long time to live together and we didn’t have kids. Now we can never have this dream.”

Under new measures announced by Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan on Tuesday, gardaí will be given new powers to clamp down on the anti-social use of scramblers and quads in parks, green spaces, beaches and on waste land.

The proposals will make it an offence to use a quad or scrambler in these and other locations without the consent of a landowner. They will not apply to privately owned land, such as farms.

Dangerous

This is a law which Ms Kotsinian has been campaigning for since the incident. She has welcomed the progress on the matter, adding that she will be “happy” when it’s implemented.

“For over three years we have had a battle with the Government for this law. Every person can understand how it’s dangerous [to ride these vehicles] in parks where people are resting. I don’t want to listen to a new story like ours,” she added.

Ms Kotsinian, who is currently in Russia receiving treatment for breast cancer, said the past few months have been particularly difficult. She left Dublin in August for medical care, and has been unable to see her husband since.

“This Covid-19 is changing our life as well. I couldn’t visit him for over four months and he lost 16kg weight. I knew about my cancer two years after the accident in July 2020. It’s a very hard period in our life. Ilabek is in the nursing home. I don’t visit him for over six months. Sometimes I think why do we have this life? Nobody can change our life now.”

There have been several other well-publicised incidents involving scramblers and quad bikes in recent years, including a pregnant woman being hit by someone riding a scrambler in Summerhill in 2019.

Between 2014 and 2019, 60 people were injured in collisions, and there were six fatalities, involving a quad bike or scrambler on a public road, according to the most recent statistics from the Road Safety Authority.

Intimidated

Paul McAuliffe,Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North-West, and former lord mayor of Dublin City Council, said this is an issue that people in working-class communities had been asking for help with for many years.

“People are terrified to speak out about the issue, because a lot of the time it’s someone who lives eight doors down and has a back garden full of quad bikes and scramblers. People are intimidated. Now, this is an extra tool for the guards on the ground,” he said.

“I am pleased and relieved. There was a fear we would never get these changes through. I’m delighted the problem has been resolved. It shows a bit of priority for the people in these communities.”