On the night of Wednesday, Aug. 25, officers from the NYPD’s 104th Precinct took custody of an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) on Metropolitan Avenue near Himrod Street in Maspeth, further adding to an issue that has plagued the city for quite some time.
According to police reports, as the ATV was heading eastbound on Metropolitan Avenue, police officers conducted a car stop and found that the individual did not have a driver’s license.
Police took the individual and conducted a further investigation. As a result, the police issued summonses for operating an ATV in New York City and being an unlicensed driver. Any illegal ATV or dirt bike is compounded after being confiscated by the NYPD.
Another illegal ATV off the streets! While working in #MASPETH our Officers saw the motorist of this ATV driving recklessly. There is ZERO TOLERANCE for these actions and we will take strict enforcement. pic.twitter.com/Szyi6xAM1f
— NYPD 104th Precinct (@NYPD104Pct) August 26, 2021
Councilman Robert Holden told QNS that illegal ATVs and dirt bikes had been an issue in his district — which encompasses the neighborhoods of Glendale, Maspeth, Middle Village, Ridgewood, Woodhaven and Woodside — for a while now and talked about how police need to do a better job patrolling the area for these disturbances.
“There are hundreds of these illegal vehicles operating every day in my district,” Holden said. “Much more has to be done by the precinct and NYPD.”
In July, a 4-year-old in Flushing Meadows Corona Park was struck by a dirt bike rider. The child, Jonathan Beuschamps, was hit after stepping out between two parked cars in the Meadow Lake Boathouse lot. The boy suffered extensive bruising, a broken ankle and a lacerated liver. He also suffered tremors and was monitored for seizures.
The dirt bike driver originally fled the scene but was eventually caught and charged with felony assault, endangering a child and other crimes.
The New York Post reported that complaints increased by 15 percent this year.
In response to this hit and run, Councilman Mark Gjonaj from the Bronx introduced “Jonathan’s Law” that doubles the fines and penalties for illegal dirt bike and ATV riders. The law has yet to pass, but Gjonaj has called upon Mayor Bill de Blasio to use his executive authority to enact this policy immediately.
As of Aug. 14, a total of 1,682 dirt bikes, ATVs, mopeds, scooters and motorcycles have been confiscated in 2021, according to the NYPD.
State Senator Joseph Addabbo, on the other hand, commended the officers and their work in taking on this issue.
“We can have the best laws on the books against these types of vehicles, but if we do not enforce them, they are useless,” Addabbo said. “It is great to see the police enforcing the laws meant to promote safety, as well as the quality of life, of the community.”
NYPD officials have said in the past that dirt bikes and ATVs plague New York City.
“We focus our enforcement around the annoyance and nuisance of these illegal and dangerous motorcycles,” said Police Chief Rodney Harrison in a press conference earlier this summer.
“It is no surprise that confiscating these bikes will improve pedestrian safety, improve traffic conditions and diminish noise,” Harrison said. “We do not tolerate these illegal and dangerous vehicles. Don’t ride them. If you do, you’re endangering yourself and others.”
The police department offers $100 for every dirt bike and ATV taken off the street with a resident’s help.
The NYPD encourages all individuals with information on where these vehicles are being operated and stored can call 800-577-TIPS.