PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — An effort in Providence to crack down on a noisy nuisance and a safety issue is gaining momentum.
Mayor Jorge Elorza on Friday said a new ordinance aimed at curbing the illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets is working as planned.
“We’ve increased our enforcement of that over the past several weekends,” Elorza said during a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers.
The ordinance, passed by the City Council last Friday, allows police to confiscate the recreational vehicles.
“We’ve confiscated about a dozen bikes, so we have them in our possession right now,” he added. “We’re not giving them back.”
The Rhode Island Foundation says ATVs have caused $20,000 worth of damage to city parks and a large pack of dirt bikers sent people fleeing when they tore through a playground on Aleppo Street on Easter Sunday.
On Thursday night, Eyewitness News cameras captured ATVs speeding through the city, despite the fact they were outlawed on city streets back in 2015.
The New York Police Department last summer made their message about ATVs loud and clear, using two bulldozers to crush a number of them in a live broadcast on Facebook.
The city of Providence is still looking into the legality of destroying the dirt bikes and ATVs they pick up, according to Elorza.
“The last thing we want to do,” he said, “is put them back on the street and have that same kid on the bike once again.”
The mayor said they have patrols out in unmarked cruisers working in tactical teams to get recreational vehicles off the roads.
“I think the message is starting to get around that if you’re out there on your dirt bike, you better watch out, because we’ll be on you,” Elorza said.
In addition to potentially having their dirt bike or ATV confiscated, those caught operating one on the streets of Providence can also face a $500 fine and be forced to pay for any registration and towing fees.