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Dirt Biking Now Costs $1,000, Not $99
by Thomas MacMillan | Sep 17, 2013 6:59 am
Posted to: City Hall, Legal Notices
People caught whipping through neighborhoods on illegal dirt bikes will now face fines 10 times higher than before.
That’s thanks to a unanimous vote of approval Monday night by the Board of Aldermen.
Lawmakers voted to amend city ordinances to crack down on illegal dirt biking in New Haven. Aldermen created the city law to take advantage of a new state law that allows municipalities to keep a tighter rein on dirt biking.
Both laws are the result of several years of effort by neighbors and elected officials working to deal with the problem of illegal dirt-biking. Each summer, teens and young men tear through the city on ATVs and dirt-bikes that are not street legal. Neighbors have long complained about the noise, the nuisance, and danger involved.
The new city law includes dirt bikes in ordinances dealing with vehicles prohibited on public property, requires a property owner’s written permission for dirt bike use on private land, specifically prohibits operating or riding as a passenger on dirt bikes, and raises the penalty from a maximum of $99 to $1,000 for the first offense, $1,500 for the second, and $2,000 for subsequent offenses.
Alderwoman Jessica Holmes (pictured), chair of the Legislation Committee, saluted board President Alderman Jorge Perez and East Rock Alderman Justin Elicker for their leadership on the issue.
Elicker thanked Perez and Democratic Majority Leader Alderman Al Paolillo for working with him on the problem. He said it was an example of a seeming intractable problem that can be addressed when people “put their heads together” and come up with a “creative solution.”
Tags: Dirt biking, Board of Aldermen
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This is a good start, but only when 203-946-6316 actually dispatch police to investigate the dirt bikers.
posted by: BenBerkowitz on September 17, 2013 8:31am
Great work Holmes and Elicker.
I would tend to call 911 on the theory that it is a somewhat dangerous situation which requires quick action to prevent possible danger to others. (At a potential $1000 or more fine, apparently the Alders consider it A serious0
Would I be wrong and referred to the non-emergency number?
Have never seen a clarification of emergency vs. non-emergency as it applies to 911.
Anybody know the supposed rule or does it depend on the mood of the 911 operator??
Why don’t the Alders encourage the police to enforce the noise and speed laws violated by motorcycles throughout New Haven on a daily basis?
What good are laws on the books if enforcement is non-existent?
Nice work by Elicker etal, but unfortunately it just doesn’t matter and won’t make a difference until the police department takes a zero tolerance approach to the dirt bikes. The do not chase policy is an absolute failure
As much as I hate the dirt bikes, I really don’t want NHPD conducting a high speed chase through New Haven over some idiots doing their own high speed riding through New Haven.
One of several examples of Justin Elicker’s ability
to hear citizens’ needs - from across ward-lines - and come up with
intelligent and effective solutions that improve
the quality of life for people in our city.
TheMadcap: The choices are not binary. That is, it isn’t as though the only choices are do not chase or a high speed chase. The NHPD ought to set up traps in the highly trafficked areas and ought to have their own bikes. There are probably 100 - 200 people causing this chaos and it really needs to end. I understand there are risks with chasing, but there are real risks to not chasing. It is only a matter of time before one of these dirt bikes loses control and plows into and seriously injures or kills a pedestrian. And then, the City will have a very expensive lawsuit on its hands. One last point, I find it hard to believe that New Haven is the only large City affected by this issue. There must be other cities and police departments that have managed to contain the problem. The NHPD should be doing a better job of identifying what works. The do not chase police clearly does not. Well, I should say that it works just fine for the members of the NHPD who get to sit idly by in their cars and then return home to the suburbs without breaking a sweat.
Walt, I am glad you asked.
We encourage anyone with a medical problem or fire to always use 911. For police complaints, anyone reporting a crime in progress or when physical harm has or may occur dial 911. Other complaints such as a parking complaint, late report of a MVA, etc may be directed to our non-emergency number (203) 946-6316.
Of course, if you are ever in doubt err on the side of caution and dial 911.
If it is something you can report to the non emergency dispatchers, the 911 dispatcher may ask you at that time to call back on that number, this is to ensure our dispatchers are free to answer other incoming calls.
The reason you may have felt it depends on our employees moods may have more to do with the volume of calls they are receiving at the time of your call. For instance, if they are not busy they may choose to take your information themselves instead of inconveniencing you further. If the call volume is high in that moment, they will of course attend to emergency situations first.
As far as THIS particular issue, all calls for dirt bikes and/or reckless motor vehicle operation are to always be entered and given to the officers in the area reported for investigation. While this type of reckless behavior can cause injury, we normally ask anyone calling these bikes in to use the non-emergency number unless a life threatening condition exists. This is again to ensure our dispatchers are available to answer the calls for medical and fire incidents and police emergencies such as robberies, domestic disputes, fights, etc.
I invite you to check out our city website at http://www.cityofnewhaven.com/publicsafety or our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/newhavenpublicsafetycommunications. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or if you’d like further clarification regarding when or how to call for assistance.
Communications Supervisor DeJesus
New Haven Public Safety Communications
REMEMBER, WHEN IN DOUBT DIAL 911
messy reporting. The new law allows municipalites to raise the amount of money they can charge a person for return of a dirtbike that has been confiscated. It’s not really a fine. The dirtbikes that NHPD confiscates are not the result of high speed chases. Rather, the bikes are confiscated from driveways/garages. The law is not really punitive, it just makes it much more difficulty to get it back after confiscation. Which means a lot less bikes on the streets. The intent is not to punish, but rather deprive potential offenders of their bikes/ATVs (or establish sufficient moral hazard to stay off the streets).