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Biker danger in the city

10/10/2013, 5:19 p.m.

Dear Mayor Bloomberg,

The numerous unregistered dirt bikes in northern Manhattan are once again become a major nuisance and safety issue.

Residents and community groups have for years repeatedly made our northern Manhattan elected officials and law enforcement aware of this issue, yet nothing has been done to address the problem of these unregistered dirt bikes on our streets. The law is very clear: Unless dirt bikes are registered with the Department of Motor Vehicles, they cannot be legally operated on city streets or highways.

In addition to section 22.2 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of the NYCRR, which requires dirt bikes to have certain safety equipment in order to be registered as motorcycles, VAT Section 410 sets forth the fees and method for registration and provides that “no motorcycle shall be operated or driven upon the public highways of this state without first being registered.” Additionally, Section 411 of the VAT requires a validly issued number plate to be fastened securely to the rear of the motorcycle. According to Section 412, violations of Section 410 are punishable by a fine between $50 and $200, imprisonment for a maximum of 15 days or both. Violations of section 411 are punishable by a fine between $25 and $200, imprisonment for a maximum of 15 days or both.

Section 2282, which applies to ATVs, similarly provides that “no person shall operate any ATV within the state unless such ATV has been registered.” Under Section 2289, failure to register an ATV is a traffic infraction. Section 1800 sets forth the fines and prison terms for traffic infractions, which, as discussed above, depend on the number of times one has violated these provisions. For the first violation, there is a maximum fine of $150 and/or imprisonment for a maximum of 15 days. For a second violation occurring within 18 months of the first, the penalty is a maximum fine of $300 and/or imprisonment for a maximum of 45 days. For the third and subsequent violations occurring within 18 months, the penalty is a maximum fine of $450 and/or imprisonment for a maximum of 90 days.

We have seen these dirt bike riders endanger young children and seniors citizens alike by riding dirt bikes on sidewalks, disregarding traffic regulations, causing accidents and riding in such large numbers that a permit may be needed to assemble. No community should be subjected to such a problem on a regular basis, nor have their elected officials and law enforcement refuse to do their jobs to ensure that the laws of our city and state are enforced.

If these same dirt bikes were speeding up and down the streets of the Upper East Side, Tribeca or the Upper West Side, we feel certain that something would have been done by now to stop this escalating problem. Others sharing our concerns include community groups such as the Morningside Area Alliance, Columbia University Security, Tiemann Towers and others, representing thousands of East and West Harlem residents. We are now asking that you give our more than 30,000 memberships the same respect as the aforementioned neighborhoods and address our problem.

We are requesting that you and Chief of Police Philip Banks enforce existing laws related to these dirt bikes and do something to resolve this problem before someone is seriously injured or killed. It is our hope that those who also seek to succeed you as mayor also do the same and enforce these laws and ensure the safety of our community.

If you have any questions or require any further information, I can be reached at president@mmpcia.org or 917-674-3313.

Thank you for your service, and we look forward to working with you to expediently and efficiently address this important issue.

Sincerely,

A Concerned Uptown Resident

Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association