Watch CBS News

New Pennsylvania Law Gives Police Officers More Power To Crack Down On Illegal ATV, Dirt Bike Riders

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Drive around Philadelphia on any summer night and you'll likely see illegal ATVs and dirt bikes cruising down the street. But it's not just a problem in Philadelphia and now lawmakers in Pennsylvania have come up with a new way to crack down on dangerous driving.

A new law is allowing police officers in Pennsylvania more power to crack down on people illegally driving ATVs and dirt bikes on public roads.

Radnor police dash cam video from last year captured a group driving the wrong way down Lancaster Avenue and blowing a red light.

Allentown Mayor Matt Tuerk says it's a problem in his city, too.

"If somebody's apprehended operating one of those bikes, we can take it, we can impound it and we'll take it to an impound yard," Tuerk said. "But they can just go right to the impound yard and pay the tow fee and get the bike back. The new law is going to turn it into a judicial process."

Gov. Tom Wolf signed legislation last week that allows police to confiscate ATVs and dirt bikes while a judge decides whether the rider is guilty of illegally driving the vehicle.

State Sen. Pat Browne authored the bill.

"If they're convicted of using one of these on the city street, which they're not allowed to do, the police can sell the bike or destroy it," Browne said.

The new law also increases penalties for people illegally riding ATVs and dirt bikes.

"Fines is, first offense $100, $50 to $200 and the second offense is $100 to $300," Browne said.

In 2019, Pennsylvania State Police gave 186 citations for illegal use of motorized recreational vehicles like ATVs and snowmobiles. In 2020, it was 230 citations and in 2021, 228 citations.

"The proper tools are now here and assistance is on the way," state Rep. Amen Brown said.

The new law takes effect in mid-September.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.