ATVs and dirt bikes have been riding in large groups through Manhattan, and people have been calling police about the noise and danger to pedestrian safety. Police officials have said their policy is not to chase people through the street, because it endangers pedestrians. But they have been confiscating some dirt bikes and ATVs, which are illegal to ride through the city, when their owners stop for gas.
Borough President Gale Brewer wrote to the NYPD to pass along five ideas drafted by the Washington Heights-Inwood Task Force. The full letter is here.
Here’s a summary of the recommendations:
- Create a Pedestrian & Street Safety Task Force to gather more information on when the riders tend to come through different neighborhoods and where they stop. And to monitor social media to figure out the routes.
- Create an incentive program like the one where the city pays people to rat out engine-idlers.
- Increase fines. Right now the first violation is $500, and subsequent violations are $1,000. In New Haven, the city recently upped the fines and is even charging gas station owners that let people fill up ATVs and dirt bikes (fill-ups are allowed if the bikes are on a trailer).
- Educate people that these vehicles are illegal. The mayor should make it more clear that it’s against the law. “Due to the volume and frequency of reckless motorized bike and street racing activity, it seems to many NYC residents that this behavior is allowed.,” Brewer writes.
- Increase notification and response time. Make it easier for people to log a specific complaint about dirt bikes/ATVs or street racing and intentional car backfiring on the 311 app.