Despite a major crackdown on irresponsible behaviour demonstrated at beaches across one state, it appears "hoon" driving with wild manoeuvres is still being witnessed by frustrated locals and council officials.
A video showing a 4WD in the water at a popular beach in South Australia has been criticised after it emerged on social media over the weekend, with the motorist seen driving erratically in the water before doing donuts on the sand. The local mayor was quick to condemn the act he described as "poor and unacceptable", and reminded visitors of the risks.
It comes amid backlash over similar behaviour at Goolwa Beach, about a 40-minute drive from Aldinga where this recent incident took place on Australia Day. It's feared Goolwa Beach will likely take "years" to recover from damage caused to the dunes — but it's an issue most beaches with vehicle access across the state are experiencing.
In the footage taken at Aldinga, about an hour's drive from Adelaide, a person is seen standing near the vehicle as it spins around in circles before they eventually get in the car. A dog and other pedestrians are also seen nearby on the sand.
Mayor slams 'very poor and unacceptable' beach act
Speaking with Yahoo News Australia, Mayor Moira Were said this sort of behaviour is "unacceptable" and warned of severe consequences for those caught doing the wrong thing. She said that while the majority of beachgoers comply with measures to protect other people and the environment, "there is infrequent anti-social behaviour from the few that don’t comply, which does attract lots of attention on the beach and online afterwards".
"The behaviour exhibited in the recent Aldinga video is very poor and unacceptable and, as a reminder to anyone undertaking such behaviour, we’re aware of at least two hoon drivers who had their vehicles impounded by SAPOL on our beaches last summer," the mayor said.
An SA Police spokesperson said police were called to Aldinga Beach at about 6.30pm on Friday after reports two vehicles had been doing burnouts but were not able to locate the vehicles involved. Police agreed "this type of behaviour is dangerous, reckless and poses a risk to the community".
The video outraged people on social media who also slammed the inappropriate behaviour.
"Destroying the car is one thing, but this is the behaviour of flogs that get our good beaches closed off to vehicle access," one person said. " Total disrespect for the beach," said another. While many more agreed it's this type of behaviour that will "wreck it for everyone".
Statewide speed limits enforced on beaches
To help minimise risk on beaches, the South Australian government enforced statewide speed limits on beaches to help protect the safety of beachgoers and the delicate ecosystem. The speed limit was reduced to 40km/h, and 25km/ at beaches when within 50 metres of a person. This change did not apply at Aldinga which has had a 10km/h speed limit "for some time".
"A 10km/h speed limit has applied to vehicles on our beaches at Moana, Aldinga, Silver Sands and Sellicks for many years, and we urge any beachgoers to report vehicle offences such as speeding and dangerous/hoon driving to SA Police at the time it's occurring if there’s an immediate danger to people," the mayor told Yahoo.
"Our community safety officers (or ‘rangers’) monitor our beaches every day during peak times to provide community education and enforcement controls on a range of matters including vehicle compliance, littering, dogs on leads during prohibited times, keeping a safe distance from Hooded Plover nesting sites, as well as supporting Marine Safety SA in its regulation of personal watercraft.
"Bollards are installed in key areas to encourage vehicles to drive and park appropriately on the hard sand parts of the beach."
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