Schenectady council to call for hearing to target dirt bike, ATV users

Schenectady police officers respond to dirt bike and ATV riders on Fehr Avenue, near State Street, in March
Schenectady police officers respond to dirt bike and ATV riders on Fehr Avenue, near State Street, in March

SCHENECTADY — City officials want to take a similar path as Albany in targeting off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles used on city streets and parks.

Albany more than quadrupled the cost of reclaiming an impounded dirt bike or ATV recently, and Schenectady officials want to do the same, as it discussed Albany’s new law during the City Council’s Public Safety Committee meeting Monday.

The Schenectady panel unanimously voted for a resolution calling for a public hearing to increase the fines for riding dirt bikes and ATVs on public roads.

Albany raised the cost of getting back a dirt bike or ATV to $3,000.

Its law targets “motocross or dirt bikes, dune buggies, go-carts and any and all other types of motorized trail bikes or vehicles” used on public streets.

Violators in Albany are subject to a $650 fine, or imprisonment up to 15 days, or both.

A police officer may immediately impound the off-road vehicle, with the title owner to be sent hall be sent notice within five days after the impoundment.

The owner would also have to pay an additional $2,350 redemption fee.

Albany police can auction, sell for scrap or destroy impounded off-road vehicles that are not claimed after 60 days.

Councilwoman Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas spearheaded the discussion in Schenectady. She presented Albany’s statute to the Public Safety Committee.

“I hope everyone had an opportunity to read through it,” Zalewski-Wildzunas said during the meeting.

“I think that we should be able to institute this so that we also can have the ability to curtail some of this activity and have some steeper fines that would be put on, and and have some serious remedies to this ongoing issue that we have in the city.”

A public hearing is needed because officials are seeking to change the city code, according to city corporation counsel Andrew Koldin.

To fanfare, Albany’s mayor signed the new law last week.

That city’s council reportedly skipped the required aging period for the bill and passed the law quicker than it would otherwise take. It wanted the legislation passed before the summer, when riding is more frequent.

Albany officials made the change without a hearing that would have allowed riders to present an argument.

In Schenectady, riders and others will get the chance to address officials during a public hearing. The City Council is expected to call for the hearing during its meeting next week.

Schenectady police has said it constantly deals with calls about dirt bikes during the early spring and summer.

Mont Pleasant is among neighborhoods where it is troublesome.

In October, a 30-year-old city resident died when a dirt bike rider sped the wrong way on a one-way section Cutler Street and died after colliding with a vehicle at Cutler Street and Fourth Avenue.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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