Troy and Schenectady take action against illegal dirt bikes


The city of Troy this week followed other communities in the capital region to tackle the use of illegal off-road vehicles on the city’s streets.

Troy City Council members at this week’s finance committee meeting put forward a measure to discourage the use of ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets.

Ward 1 Republican City Councilor Jim Gulli presented the measure on Tuesday night.

“It’s not a panacea, it doesn’t help our police catch these guys, but when they do, they’ll have a hard time getting their gear back or they’ll pay the fees to do it, and I doubt they will. I want to do this too often, ”said Gulli.

Authorities in the Northeast say off-road motorcycles and ATVs ridden on city streets are often unregistered and uninsured.

The legislation follows similar actions in the towns of Albany and Schenectady.

The measure envisioned in Troy would set the maximum fine for those caught riding on public streets and sidewalks at $ 650 or 15 days in jail, or both. To recover the vehicles, violators would have to pay a redemption fee of $ 2,350.

Republican City Council President Carmella Mantello said what sets the Troy legislation apart from that of Albany and Schenectady is enforcement. This summer, the city will launch a pilot community policing program. The community policing unit will be expanded in the future. Recently, city council voted to hire six new community police officers to enter the academy in July, with the goal of joining the pace in January 2022.

“What I’m hoping to see is actually being proactive in our neighborhoods, making some of these riders like some of these ATV riders. They know who they are. They know who the illegal violators are in the neighborhood. They know where they are stored. And I really believe that with that information, with the people actually communicating with our community policemen, talking to them, building relationships, it’s going to make a huge difference in our neighborhoods, ”Mantello said.

Mantello plans to have the legislation, backed by Democratic Mayor Patrick, approved at next week’s regular city council meeting.

On Monday evening, the city council of Schenectady adopted its legislation on off-road motorcycles. Democratic city councilor Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas, who led the effort, spoke at this week’s regular meeting.

“I look forward to the police being able to ensure that we have safer streets,” Zalewski-Wildzunas said.

The legislation increases the redemption fee to $ 2,350 and sets a fine of $ 500. There is also a towing charge of $ 70 and a storage charge of $ 20 per day. The law gives the police the ability to sell or destroy vehicles after 60 days.

Jamaica Miles, a recently elected candidate for the city’s school board and activist for Black Lives Matter, has spoken out against the legislation.

She warned that the new policy would further criminalize the city’s youth.

“It hasn’t gone well for the city of Albany in the way the locals have responded there, I don’t see it going well here as we are going to have a further negative impact on an already poor community . If we were seeking the safety and well-being of everyone, then we should reach out to the community and look for alternatives other than further criminalizing young people who lack the resources and opportunities to use off-road motorcycles. and ATVs in a safe place, ”Miles says.

The WAMC asked Councilor Zalewski-Wildzunas last week about the idea of ​​creating a designated constituency area.

“I don’t know if anywhere in the city where we have room, because we’re a city, that we could have something set up for people to drive these vehicles … And then we have insurance issues, someone gets hurt, you’re on town property… you know, there’s a ton of things you need to consider, ”she says.

The city council of Schenectady has also declared May as Motorcycle Safety and Awareness Month.

Schenectady’s Democratic Mayor Gary McCarthy signed the law increasing the fees for illegal off-road vehicles, saying in part: “These dangerous vehicles are illegal and their reckless operators create a dangerous environment for the whole community.”

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