Rochester City Councilman calls for penalties if ATVs, dirt bikes are used illegally

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — With reports coming in of packs of all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes racing along city streets, and multiple recent fatal accidents involving these kinds of vehicles, one city lawmaker is continuing to call for action.

Rochester City Councilman Jose Peo says this ATV and dirt bike racing has gone on for too long. He says with summer on the way, if something isn’t done to stop this illegal activity, more accidents and more deaths will most certainly occur. 

Peo said he thanks God this week is going to be rainy: “Or else we’re going to be seeing it every single day, and everyone knows it,” he said while discussing the local use of ATVs and dirt bikes.

He says this problem has been going on for years in Rochester, and it’s only getting worse. 

“Let’s just do the work, do what’s right for the people and keep our city safe,” Peo said.

The councilman says he’s working on legislation that would have violators pay hefty fines, about the cost of a dirt bike.

“An even $3,000, baby,” Peo said. “You want to pay $3,000 so you can roll around in a four-wheeler and dirt bike — be my guest.”

Peo says the City of Buffalo seems to have no issue cracking down on this issue, asking why can’t Rochester can’t do the same

Peo believes police are afraid in many ways to do their jobs and arrest violators. 

“We have no leadership in our city right now when it comes to law enforcement,” Peo said.

Officials from the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office say these vehicles are only allowed on private property, but they say a chase to capture the perpetrators could add another level of danger.

“…We don’t want to jeopardize the life of that motorcyclist or the public,” said Sgt. Matthew Mackenzie. “For any motorcycle you have to be a licensed operator you have to have a class ‘M’ endorsement and the motorcycle has to be licensed.”

Mackenzie says the vehicles do not require headlights, and it’s common for people to not follow traffic protocol. Some violations — if caught — range from reckless driving to endangering welfare. 

A statement from Mayor Lovely Warren last month said, in part, racing these vehicles on city streets cannot be tolerated, asking residents to be smart and only use these unlicensed vehicles on private property.

Peo says if something isn’t done soon, more fatalities will occur. 

“We need discipline in order to be a better city,” says Peo.

Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D-138) is also pushing for legislation to get ATVs and dirt bikes off the streets. He said in a statement last month he’s hoping that people can learn the proper operation and use of these vehicles. 

The issue of ATVs and dirt bikes is not exclusive to the City of Rochester, either. This viewer-submitted video came to us from Eugene Fererra at the corner of Titus Avenue and Kings Highway in Irondequoit last week:

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