There may soon be stricter penalties for illegal ATV and dirt bike riders in New Haven.
Police launched a task force earlier this summer to find illegal riders, and on Tuesday the Board of Alders passed a vote of approval for a new ordinance to increase penalties on those riding in the area.
"The goal of the legislation is to ensure that people have better behavior and were doing that through significantly increasing the fines," Mayor Justin Elicker (D-New Haven) explained.
Currently if you're caught on an ATV or dirtbike illegally in the city the fine is $99. If the new ordinance passes final approval that number will climb to $1,000 on the first offense, $1,500 for the second and $2,000 for all subsequent offenses.
The ordinance would also crack down on gas stations and charge them $100 fine for selling gas to anyone pulling up on a dirt bike or ATV.
"The dirt bikes are very dangerous they are driving up and down the city so wheelies cutting in front of cars and there actually making people afraid to drive their cars," said New Haven resident Michael Parise.
"We're moving the fines up as you saw so we don't have to rely upon arrest," Assistant Chief of Police Karl Jacobson said.
The city says it's a win-win for the department and residents.
"It's not our goal to arrest 18 year olds and give them a record for this type of activity. What we put in place as a police department and what we should do even as a society is something to stop the bad behavior make it safer that's all we want to do here," Jacobson said.
With the approval from last night the next steps would be to take it for up for a vote with the full board in early November.
Police still ask for help tracking down ATV and illegal dirt bike riders. Anonymous tips can be sent to ECIC@newhavenct.gov, or by texting NHPD to 274637 (CRIMES).