BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The City of Buffalo has announced a new program that will provide a reward for information leading to the confiscation of dirt bikes and ATVs operating illegally in the city.
Mayor Byron Brown joined Buffalo Police Captain Jeff Rinaldo to make the announcement Friday afternoon.
"We have received a number of complaints about the illegal operation of ATVs and dirt bikes in the City of Buffalo. The police are well aware of these complaints," Mayor Brown said.
"I think the opportunity presented itself due to COVID and the lack of traffic. Now, we're seeing a continuation of that," Rinaldo said.
Rinaldo said those who have information can contact the BPD tip line at (716) 847-2255 and leave their contact information. Someone from BPD will contact you to collect the information and if successful in the confiscation, a reward of up to $100 will be issued.
Rinaldo also said this is not just happening in Buffalo, it's happening throughout the country and it is a serious issue.
"There was a tragedy that judge occurred this week in Rochester. Two people were killed, a third seriously injured from the riding of these ATVs. This is a serious issue. We have seen last year where some of these riders of these vehicles are using them to commit crimes. We had a person riding an illegal dirt bike fire a handgun at a Buffalo police officer," Rinaldo said.
Buffalo police said chasing these vehicles is just too dangerous.
"They're not designed to be operated in a pursuit mode, so not only are you endangering the general public, you're endangering the rider of that vehicle. An ATV does not corner, it is not designed to be operating at high speeds making sharp turns," Rinaldo said.
Throughout the summer of 2020 there were several instances of off-road vehicles taking over city streets. In September the Buffalo Police Department partnered with the Erie County Sheriff's Office on a coordinated effort to get them off the streets.
Buffalo Common Council Members introduced legislation to combat illegal ATV use in January, Rinaldo said Friday the legislation was recently passed. The new penalty for illegal operation will include a fine of up to $2,500 and seizure of the vehicle.
Officials say the city has introduced this new program to get the community involved and try to get ahead of the issue before the warmer weather arrives.