June 21, 2022
BROOKLYN, NY — A new plan from the NYPD will aim to replace the familiar buzz of dirt bikes zooming through city streets this summer with a new sound: the crunch of those illegal vehicles being crumpled under a bulldozer.
Mayor Eric Adams and police staged a dramatic bulldozing of 100 dirt bikes, ATVs and other motorbikes in Red Hook on Tuesday as a message to riders of the illegal vehicles, which surge in the summertime and have become even more ubiquitous during the pandemic.
“They are not only a nuisance and an annoyance to us but they are extremely dangerous,” Adams said. “We want to be clear that this is not acceptable.”
The impounding included only a small portion of the nearly 2,000 illegal vehicles the NYPD has confiscated so far this year, an 88 percent increase to the 1,022 seized during the same time in 2021, officials said.
Illegal dirt bikes and ATVs — made for off-road use and not legal on the street — are destroyed once the NYPD finish investigating who owns the vehicles so that they can’t be resold, officials said.
The vehicles are known to terrorize New Yorkers by speeding through cars in groups, driving on sidewalks and ignoring rules of the road, not to mention their loud engines, police said. The vehicles also often don’t have insurance, meaning victims hit by the bikes are left with costly medical bills, according to Adams.
The mayor urged lawmakers to require ATV retailers to demand proof of insurance from buyers on Tuesday.
Another part of the NYPD’s plan to tamp down the summer surge will include making a map of ATV and dirt bike hot spots so officers can swarm where riders get ready for “ride-outs” or store the vehicles.
“To anyone who illegally operates an ATV, dirt bike or other such vehicle on the streets of New York City — we will seize that bike and we will destroy it,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said.
Another kind of “traffic violence” was also fresh in the minds of city officials’ during Tuesday’s press conference.
Adams said that a bloody taxi crash along Broadway that left three people critically injured on Monday “personified” the concern over tackling street safety. The mayor and others have decried the city’s dangerous streets in the aftermath of the crash.
“This can’t be a city where vehicle crashes are endangering the lives of innocent people,” he said.