SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield city lawmakers are taking new steps to crack down on dirt bikes.
The City Council is drafting new legislation that would increase penalties for those caught riding an off-road vehicle on city streets.
Dirt bikes and ATV’s are illegal in Springfield, but that hasn’t stop people from using them. In some cases, the riders seem to be antagonizing drivers by zig zagging in and out of traffic.
“They think they’re funny and they want to make a scene,” said Cherie Farr of Springfield.
Farr has seen riders breaking the law many times and it’s not just annoying, it’s dangerous. Three dirt bike riders have died in crashes in Springfield since October.
“What we want to do it make sure we give our police officers have the tools that they need to enforce the laws that are on the books,” said Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos.
Those caught riding a dirt bike on a public way could face a $50 fine, but under the new draft legislation, being proposed by Councilor Orlando Ramos, that fine would be increased. The ordinance also addresses noise and storage.
“A lot of these folks store these vehicles indoors, which is a fire hazard, so we want to make sure we’re getting away from that,” Ramos told 22News.
The city also wants to simplify the process for forfeiture. This would need state approval. Right now, police can seize a dirt bike only after the second offense.
They want it changed to first offense.
“Dirt bikes are meant for the dirt and the sand and bike trails,” Cherie Farr of Springfield said. “You know something like that. Not in the road.”
Councilor Ramos plans to propose the ordinance on Monday before the full council. He tells me if all goes well it’ll likely be on the books in July.