City Councilor proposes legislation to tackle illegal off-road motorcycle use and drag racing – Bronx Times

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As illegal off-road motorcycles become more prevalent throughout the city – two men on bikes hijacked a driver last week – lawmakers and the NYPD are fed up.

As of June 3, the NYPD has seized 322 ATVs and off-road motorcycles, issued 7,469 summons for motorcycles / mountain bikes, and 16 summons for ATVs. Additionally, according to the NY Post, “the NYPD has seen a 15% increase in complaints about off-road motorcycles and ATVs.”

Captain Isaac Soberal of the 45th Station told the Bronx Times that police could only seize bikes if they were told where they were or if a driver was refueling at a gas station. However, he added that if a bicycle is used in a violent crime such as carjacking, the police will prosecute.

“You have to weigh the risk of the public going into a high lawsuit,” he said.

In May, the NYPD even launched an initiative to take bicycles off the streets by offering tipsters $ 100 for information regarding an illegal bicycle, but that was not enough to solve the problem.

As a result, New York City Councilor Mark Gjonaj, a Democrat, on July 15 announced a law that would double fines and penalties for people who recklessly drive off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.

“Off-road motorcycles, four-wheelers, reckless driving and drag racing are illegal in New York City, but as you see and see for yourself, you wouldn’t know better because of the number of illegal bikes. that have invaded our streets, ”Gjonaj said at a press conference. “The NYPD cannot enforce existing laws because it is prohibited to prosecute these illegal dirt bikes, four-wheelers and dragsters.”

Currently, the fine for driving off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles on city roads is $ 500 for a first offense and $ 1,000 for an additional offense. However, the legislation proposed by Gjonaj would increase these fines to $ 750 and $ 1,500.

The city councilor said he understands the NYPD is in a tight spot, but hopes this will deter some people from driving illegal vehicles. He pointed out that not only do they speed up, but they enter and exit traffic, roll on the sidewalk and are dangerous for pedestrians and drivers.

“We call on the leaders of the town hall to stand up and take back our streets,” he said. “This chaos must end.

Captain Isaac Soberal, of the 45th constituency, speaks about the rise in the number of illegal off-road motorcycles and ATVs at a press conference last week.

Soberal added that social media has played an important role in the increase in the number of illegal dirt bikes and ATVs.

“A lot of these people like to start a lawsuit with the NYPD and put it on their social media,” he said.

Gjonaj, who has been pushing this legislation for the past three years, hopes it gets approved this year and will make some riders think twice before getting on an off-road motorcycle or ATV.

“They know there is no enforcement or mechanism and they cannot be prosecuted,” he said. “We cannot allow this chaos to continue, and we cannot condone this reckless endangerment.”

Contact Jason Cohen at [email protected] or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bronxtimes and Facebook @bxtimes.


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