Stephania Jimenez and Thomas Kienzler
Many residents in New Haven don't feel safe walking or driving through neighborhoods because of speeding dirt bikes and ATV riders. A state lawmaker has heard their concerns and wants to raise penalties on illegal ATV and dirt bike riders.
A state representative has filed legislation to stiffen penalties on illegal dirt bike and All-Terrain Vehicle riders.
Many New Haven residents feel unsafe with dirt bikes and ATVs blazing down city streets.
“I could easily get hit and they’ll keep going. They won’t stop,” said Tanneil Buchanan.
Buchanan isn’t the only one worried for her safety.
“Usually, I’m in a car. You don’t want to hit one of them or have damage done to your car,” said Jason Jacobs.
That’s why state Rep. Pat Dillon (D-New Haven) wants to raise fines on dirt bikes and ATVs seen racing through city streets. Current penalties are at $250.
“It undermines the neighborhood when you have a frightening squad of 15 to 20 bikes…roaring down the street,” said state Rep. Dillon.
Rep. Dillon admitted the penalty alone may not be enough to deter riders from taking dangerous risks, but said it may be a good way to begin tackling the issue.
“It’s only one little tool that the city can use, and maybe it’ll send a message.”
That’s a message that Buchanan hopes the dirt bike and ATV riders receive loud and clear.
“We need more policemen, especially on Edgewood Ave., to get the kids off the dirt bikes. They could hurt somebody or hurt someone’s pet,” added Buchanan.
The new penalty amount hasn’t been set.
First, the bill has to be formally proposed before lawmakers put it up for a vote.