New Bedford is not the only Massachusetts community trying to figure out how to deal with illegal ATV and dirt bike riders. Several other communities have already begun to address the problem.
The Fall River Herald News reported that Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee are considering forming a task force to work cooperatively on the problem. Taunton and Boston have passed ordinances addressing the issue.
Springfield television station WWLP reported that police in that community made a dozen arrests in a crackdown on the pesky vehicles last month.
Shawn Cadime, Chairman of the Fall River City Council Committee on Public Safety, said he is working with acting Police Chief Paul Gauvin on a proposed ordinance that would give police “the ability to fine and impound illegal bikes.”
Cadime said Chief Gauvin “is currently drafting an ordinance, which he is pulling from Boston and Taunton.” Cadime added the proposed ordinance should “help to serve as a deterrent.” Like New Bedford, Fall River has a no-chase policy, and Cadime doubts that the proposed ordinance would change that.
City Council President Pam Laliberte-Lebeau said she expects the council would quickly enact a proposed ordinance. She said time is of the essence.
“Someone is going to get hurt, it could be someone on a bike, or it could be a pedestrian,” she said.
Laliberte-Lebeau said the Massachusetts Legislature must “absolutely” play a role in all of this by giving local communities more tools to work with in the form of stricter laws. She said the ATV and dirt bike riders try to taunt the police into chasing them, resulting in someone being injured or killed. She said it’s “frustrating for police.”
The proposed ordinance could be ready for consideration as soon as this month.