Providence City Council passes dirt bike, ATV ordinance

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An ordinance that allows Providence Police to confiscate and destroy recreation vehicles driven in the city illegally has cleared its second hurdle in the city council.

The proposed crackdown comes in response to a recent spike in illegal ATVs and dirt bike riding.

This comes after an Easter weekend incident where dozens of riders swarmed a playground on Aleppo Streets.

“We have been hearing from many residents and community organizations about dangerous incidents across the city involving ATVS and dirt bikes,” said Council President Luis Aponte (Ward 10). “These incidents threaten everyone’s safety, and the ordinance we passed tonight gives our police department greater latitude in addressing the problem.”

In a letter to City Council, Rhode Island Foundation President Neil Steinberg said off-road motor vehicles have caused “significant damage” to Roger Williams Park and has cost the Providence Parks Department nearly $20,000 in repairs.

“The City of Providence has experienced lawlessness in the illegal use of all-terrain vehicles and off road motorbikes on our City Streets,” said Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare. “This has created a danger to our community and to our police officers who try to intercept these vehicles driving at high rates of speed on our streets, in our parks and on the bike path. The ordinance will allow the Providence Police to stop, seize and potentially forfeit these vehicles so they are forever removed from the public spaces that they operate illegally.”

In 2015, the City Council voted to prohibit the use of snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles like ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets. The city can fine individuals caught operating the vehicles $500 and seize the vehicles.

A year later, the council passed a resolution calling on the police department to enforce the ordinance following the death of a man who was operating an unregistered dirt bike in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood.