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BRONX TIMES REPORTER, J 4 ULY 23-29, 2021 BTR
Legislation aims to
curb illegal dirt bikes
BY JASON COHEN
As illegal dirt bikes have increasingly
run rampant throughout the city
— two men on bikes carjacked a driver
last week — lawmakers and the NYPD
are getting fed up.
As of June 3, the NYPD has seized
322 ATVs and dirt bikes, written 7,469
summonses for motorcycles/dirt bikes
and 16 summonses for ATVs. Additionally,
according to the NY Post, “the
NYPD has seen an uptick of 15 percent
in complaints of dirt bikes and ATVs.”
Capt. Isaac Soberal of the 45th Precinct,
told the Bronx Times that the police
are only able to seize the bikes if
they are tipped off about where one is
or if a driver is refueling at a gas station.
However, he added that if a bike
is used in a violent crime such as a carjacking,
then police will pursue.
“You have to weigh the risk of the
public in engaging in a high pursuit,”
In May, the NYPD even launched
an initiative to get bikes off the streets
by offering tipsters $100 for information
pertaining to an illegal bike, but
that has not done nearly enough to fi x
As a result, New York City Councilman
Mark Gjonaj, a Democrat, announced
legislation on July 15 that
would double the fi nes and penalties
on individuals that recklessly operate
dirt bikes and off-road vehicles.
“Dirt bikes, four-wheelers, reckless
driving and drag racing are illegal in
NYC, but as you see and witness for
yourself you wouldn’t know any better
because of the number of illegal bikes
that have taken over our streets,”
Gjonaj said at a press conference. “The
NYPD can’t enforce the existing laws
because it is prohibited from chasing
these illegal dirt bikes, four-wheelers
and drag racers.”
Currently the fi ne for operating
dirt bikes andall-terrainvehicles on
city roadways is $500 for a fi rst offense
and $1,000 for an additional offense.
Capt. Isaac Soberal, of the 45th Precinct,
speaks about the uptick in illegal dirt bikes
and ATVs at a press conference last week.
Photo Jason Cohen
However, Gjonaj’s proposed legislation
would increase those fi nes to $750 and
The councilman said he understands
the NYPD is in a tough spot,
but hopes this would deter some people
from operating illegal vehicles.
He pointed out that not only are they
speeding, but they weave in and out of
traffi c, drive on the sidewalk and are
dangerous to pedestrians and drivers.
“We’re calling on the brass in City
Hall to stand up and take back our
streets,” he said. “This chaos must
Soberal added that social media
has played a big part in the increase in
illegal dirt bikes and ATVs.
“A lot of these individuals like to
initiate a pursuit 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 is approved this year and
causes some riders to think twice before
getting on a dirt bike or ATV.
“They know there’s no enforcement
or mechanism and they can’t be
chased,” he said. “We can’t allow this
chaos to continue, and we can’t turn
a blind eye to this reckless endangerment.”
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