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ATVs back in Buffalo, new law hopes to curb illegal riding

Posted at 6:08 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-11 18:39:37-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Neighbors in Buffalo say a break in the weather means illegal ATVs and dirt bikes are once again taking over some streets in Buffalo.

“I was up on Hertel a couple days ago and I couldn’t even hear the person I was talking to because they were so loud and speeding,” said Lynn who lives near Hertel.

Eyewitnesses say Wednesday night around 7:00 pm, a pack of at least 30 ATVs and bikes were on Hertel Avenue. The eyewitness says the vehicles were doing wheelies, running red lights, some did not have headlights in the dark.

Neighbors we talked with say the dangerous joy rides became nearly a daily occurrence last summer.

Packs of ATVs and dirt bikes were caught on NITTEC cameras along the thruway. One man told us in the summer, he was assaulted by some ATV riders.

“I want residents to know that we’re trying to combat it but it’s an extremely complex issue,” said Buffalo Common Council Member Mitch Nowakowski.

Nowakowski and Councilmember Bryan Bollman led an effort to pass legislation this winter, which not only makes it explicitly illegal to operate these ATVs on city streets, but makes it more expensive and harder to get the vehicle back.

According to the new law, if the ATV or dirt bike is impounded by police:

-you have to pay a $2,500 fine

-must prove you own the vehicle

-must prove you are licensed to operate the vehicle

-must prove you have insurance to operate it

-make sure the vehicle is up to code

Nothing in the new law changes the Buffalo Police Department no chase policy.

If you see these vehicles on city streets, the best thing you can do is take down a plate number, if they have it, and call 911, police say.