Image: City Council Closes Loophole on Illegal Use of ATVs & Dirt Bikes on City Streets

Councilman Allan Domb

Legislation amends traffic code to include dirt bikes as an illegal street vehicle, providing the Police Department with another tool to keep streets and sidewalks safe

City Council recently unanimously approved legislation (Bill No. 210423) that amends the city’s traffic code to close the loophole on the law that enforces the illegal use of ATVs, dirt bikes, and dune buggies on city streets. The bill was sponsored by Councilmembers Allan Domb, Mark Squilla and Derek Green.

By clearly defining dirt bikes and dune buggies as illegal street vehicles, the bill will group all the illegal vehicles into one category and give the Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) the authority to confiscate them. City Council collaborated with several community organizations, the District Attorney’s Office, and the Police Department to find a solution that will help curb the illegal activity.

“Residents from every neighborhood came to us with their concerns and experiences with dangerous situations that were caused by the illegal vehicle riding,” said Councilmember Domb. “We also found that the illegal activity is chasing people out of the city at a time when we need people to come back to the city. We will continue to bring people to the table on this issue, including members in the riding community who weighed in on this bill, and find solutions that will keep everyone safe.”

This bill will end a loophole in the previous legislation to group all the illegal vehicles into one form and treat them the same,” said Councilmember Squilla. “This legislation is just one tool to address the ongoing safety concerns while we continue to look into alternatives measures.”

“This issue has become a growing problem and impacts numerous neighborhoods across our city,” said Councilmember Green. “We will not be able to resolve this until we address enforcement, in tandem with alternatives like a designated riding space or flat track-type of area, that could yield community solutions to this issue.”

In addition to passing the legislation, Councilmember Domb and other councilmembers have been exploring the idea of providing a space in the city where riders can ride safely, enjoy the activity with other ATV and bike community members, and not be forced into the streets where it is illegal to ride. Councilmembers Domb and Squilla recently toured a potential site in the southwest Philadelphia section of the city.

There are several issues that would need to be addressed to provide an ATV and bike park in the city, including transporting the vehicles to alternative locations, registering the vehicles locally and what entity would own the park.

“We know there are many hurdles to overcome but we really need to consider the recreational activity shifts for our residents and find some common ground,” said Councilmember Domb.

“This will be a dream come true for us to have our own place to ride ATV's,” said Joey Zazalino, a member of the riding community and ATV/Dirk bike workgroup. “It will be a milestone for the City of Philadelphia and create harmony once again with our youth.”

The law becomes effectively immediately.

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