Petersburg Council considers ordinance to seize dirt bikes being illegally ridden

Posted at 8:32 PM, Apr 03, 2018

PETERSBURG, Va. --Petersburg City Council introduced and discussed a resolution at Tuesday's meeting, hoping to address a growing concern over the ATVs and dirt bikes be illegally riding on city streets.

It's a problem that's been getting worse since 2012, when an ATV collided with an SUV in a subdivision and the rider was injured.

Last week a fourteen year old illegally riding an ATV on a city street collided with a car, and the teen was injured.

"It's a little dangerous," said Eric Boone, who has seen the riders before. "You know some of the kids or guys riding them with no helmets on and going in and out of traffic so, it's kind of dangerous."

The resolution is one way the City plans to get the attention of the illegal riders before someone gets seriously injured or killed. The city would like to have an ordinance akin to ones in Maryland and the District of Columbia, both confiscate and then destroy seized ATVs and dirt bikes.

"We're concerned, extremely concerned about the safety of those riders," says Lt. Emmanuel Chambliss with the Petersburg Police.

Another way police are trying to get their attention, by tasking several officers to focus on finding the illegal riders.

Last week, a dozen calls came in to 911 dispatch over a two-hour period, as illegal riders crisscrossed the city.

"I actually saw some of them riding," said Vice Mayor John Hart. "So it's a thing that you see it and you're wondering  to yourself, what's going to happen here."

Vice Mayor Hart isn't alone but still some have pushed back against the police trying to stop and ticket the illegal riders.

"You got young kids out being kids but you don't want them in a situation where someone else is in an accident, they're riding without helmets, so you don't want that to be an issue".

In fact while it's illegal to ride an ATV on city streets, it's also illegal for anyone under 16 to be driving one.

Leonard Stanley said he thinks the city should enforce the law but at the same time  thinks" the city needs to find a solution to make a ground where they can have a dirt bike."