After tragedies, lawmakers urge action on dirt bike, ATV legislation

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — After two fatal dirt bike crashes this week in Rochester, some lawmakers are moving forward with legislation to curb the issue.

City Councilman Jose Peo says he’s hearing complaints about loud dirt bikes and ATV’s speeding down city streets, but no one has done anything about it. Peo wants to make it easier for police to impound these vehicles, and issue fines in the thousands of dollars. 

“Everyone wants to complain about things and say that ‘we have a problem, we have a problem,’ well, let’s stop talking about it and start doing it,” says Peo. 

These vehicles Peo says, are meant for the countryside, not where large groups of people are living. He says he wants to give police greater ability to impound these vehicles and hit violators where it hurts: in their wallets. 

“Take these vehicles away from them. And in order for them to get these vehicles back, not only do they have the fine… the $650 fine,” adding, “in order to get them out of being impounded, they would have another $2,350 fine, to return their vehicle back to them.”

All totaling about $3,000, about the cost of an ATV. 

“At that point, $3,000, is it worth driving that dirt bike or ATV on the streets? To me it’s not,” says Peo. 

“I got the phone call no parent wants to get,” says Child Safety Advocate Jim Daley, who lost his 15-year-old son in an ATV accident in 2015. He’s been working since then with local lawmakers, including Assemblyman Harry Bronson, to keep kids off of these vehicles and for operators to wear protective gear. 

“So, I’m just trying to help prevent other families from going through what I went through,” says Daley. 

Peo says the next step is working with city attorneys and reviewing legislation that’s been passed in other areas. “It has to stop. It has to stop,” says Peo. 

Peo did add that oftentimes, alcohol can be in the mix as these ATV’s and dirt bikes speed up and down city streets… adding a double danger to this already illegal activity.

In a statement Assemblyman Harry Bronson said he’s working on new legislation:

“As I reflect on the horrific events from this past weekend, my thoughts go out to the family and my sympathies for their tragic loss. Working with Mr. Jack Daley, I have introduced legislation that we hope will help educate families on the proper use of ATV’s and off-road dirt bikes and prevent these injuries and deaths. Mr. Daley lost his son in an accident involving an ATV. Unfortunately, Mr. Daley and the family involved in the Norton Street accident are far too common. It is my hope, with the passage of my legislation, that families will learn the proper operation and rules associated with the operation of ATV’s and dirt bikes. I thank Mr. Daley for sharing his families tragedy with me  and I will work for swift passage of my bill.”

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