By Alberto Gilman
Local leaders are looking to crack down and take all-terrain vehicles [ATV], dirt bikes and other off road vehicles off the streets in order to maintain public safety.
The New York State [NYS] Department of Motor Vehicles [DMV] defines ATV as “an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) is any self-propelled vehicle, including an off-road motorcycle, that is manufactured for use on off-road trails or in off-road competitions.”
According to the NYSDMV website, a NYS resident must have valid state registration in order to ride and drive the vehicle. The exceptions are that the ATV is “only used for agricultural purposes or not-for-hire snow removal on private property, registered in another state to a resident of that state, only used at special events (competitions).”
New York State residents are not required to have insurance to register an ATV and do not need a driver’s license to drive one. There are, however, certain age restrictions when it comes to riding the ATV.
During the Town of New Windsor work session on Monday, August 1, the town board discussed the current situation of illegal ATVs and motorbikes that have made appearances in the town. Several riders have been spotted driving and riding along Route 9W.
New Windsor Supervisor George Meyers said he has spoken with New Windsor Police Chief Robert Doss about the problem and is ultimately looking to avoid any situations between officers and these riders.
In several New Windsor police reports, officers have reported and detailed encounters with several aggressive riders, riders in possession of stolen bikes, riders who ride up on the sidewalks, encounters with large rider groups that disrupt traffic or riders who are reported but are not caught.
At the recommendation of Doss, the town could consider the passage of a local ordinance to address the illegal vehicle issue to maintain officer and public safety. Currently in New Windsor, there is no such ordinance.
In the City of Newburgh, there is currently a local ordinance in place to address illegal ATVs and dirtbikes which can be found in the city code Chapter 287 titled Vehicles, Off-Road. It was last September that the issue of off road vehicles came before the city council where community members voiced their concerns and thoughts on how to address the issue.
According to Chapter 287 in the city code, ATVS and motorbikes are prohibited to be driven on public roadways or on public properties in the city, and off road vehicles can be impounded by the City of Newburgh Police Department [CNPD].
Fines in violation of this law are listed as follows: for a first offense, the fine is $250, a second offense is $400 and third and following offenses, riders will be issued a fine of $550.
As the issue of illegal vehicles continues, Mayor Torrance Harvey said that he has had conversations with the mayors of New York City, Kingston, Middletown, Poughkeepsie, and Beacon to speak on these matters and see what can be done. In response to the reported illegal vehicles, Harvey shared that with the collaborative efforts of the city and city police department, the focus is to get these vehicles off the streets.
“These things are illegal. They’re not to be driven or rode in an urban densely populated city,” Harvey said.
“The City of Newburgh deals with this challenge, there’s been local law passed on this. The bottom line is, they’re not supposed to be driven in our city.”
Though the city police have given courtesy warnings to riders, the police department has still confiscated various vehicles and bikes, according to Harvey.
Councilman Anthony Grice said that while he recognizes this issue is a problem in many major cities, not just in Newburgh, street calming measures, he said, are the best deterrent to the issue.