SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – State Representative and Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos along with Representative Carlos Gonzalez, are refiling the illegal dirt bike home rule legislation which is an act related to the illegal operation of off-highway vehicles.
Ramos sponsored a home rule petition back in August 2020 that would allow seizure and forfeiture after the first serious offense instead of the second offense and allow for the city to destroy all confiscated vehicles at a public crushing.
“We want to make sure we destroy them so they don’t get back onto the road,” said State Rep. Orlando Ramos. “Most of these dirt bikes and off-highway vehicles are stolen.”
It’s an issue that really hits home for Ramos. He shared with 22News a video from his security camera of a dirt bike rider going over his lawn.
“Whether it’s Sixteen Acres or Indian Orchard, the North End, the South End, they are everywhere,” said Ramos. “It’s been a nuisance in every single area. People are tired of this.”
Web Extra: Dirt biker rides across lawn
Often its teenagers riding them, and police continue to call for more parent intervention.
“Would you ever let your kids ride a dirt bike in the street?
Jeremy Libiszewski a Ludlow Father said, “Never. It’s pretty crazy I mean it’s dangerous for one, for them, and everyone else around them. I think they need to crack down on it.”
The Springfield Police Department can attest to dirt bike riders already causing issues in the streets. The Commissioner told 22News that some have kicked cruisers and knocked rearview windows off. At this point, she wants all the help they can get.
“What’s happening this year to start off is, they are getting aggressive,” said Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood. “They are kicking cars. I welcome any help I can get. I’m going to end this problem, because someone is going to get hurt bad.”
After police confiscate them, if the original owner doesn’t come forward, the bikes go into an auction, which the commissioner says, just recycles the problem.
Ramos said that’s because the illegal rider modifies the bike so the owner wouldn’t even know it’s theirs. Representative and Chairman of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security Carlos Gonzalez also supports this legislation.
Mayor Domenic Sarno thanked Ramos for refiling the legislation and Gonzalez for supporting it and issued the following statement:
“I want to thank Representative/Councilor Orlando Ramos and Representative Carlos Gonzalez for refiling and supporting this important and much-need illegal dirt bike home rule legislation. As the weather starts to get warmer, we are starting to see this illegal and sometimes dangerous activity start up again. Yesterday, we had a number of incidents in our downtown and neighborhood areas that brought damage to vehicles and threats. We need to back up our Springfield Police Department and give our brave and dedicated officers the tools to quell this lawlessness and disrespect shown by the illegal dirt bike groups of marauders who have been terrorizing our downtown and neighborhood streets. I commend Representatives Ramos and Gonzalez for their leadership in working to get this home rule legislation refiled and passed in the House,” Sarno said.
“These illegal riders are not only endangering their own lives but the lives of others on the road. We have to do whatever we can to get these illegal vehicles off our streets before more people end up getting hurt. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House on getting this Home Rule Petition passed,” Ramos said.
Gonzalez said in a news release sent to 22News, that this isn’t just a public safety issue but is a quality of life issue and that he will continue to work on passing the legislation.