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This young man was popping wheelies down Peck Street and then kicked my car as he went by.
Now that the summer weather is arriving and students will be out of school, it will get worse. I see so many all over the Fair Haven neighborhood. We don't have enough foot and car patrols in the area. The problem also lies with people on regular bicycles. They have no regard or respect for the road or people driving vehicles. And even more dangerous, they're out there in the dark with no reflectors or lights of any kind on their bikes and they cut in front of cars.
I believe that if you're going to ride anything in the public streets, you should know and adhere to road rules. If they constantly break these rules, all bicylces, dirt bikes and anything else motorized or home made with a smelly smokey motor, should be confiscated. Automobile drivers (some just as bad with road rules as bikers) on occasion get a ticket, pay a fine, or lose their license.
Unfortunately, kids--even adults--don't realize how fragile life is and one split second can ruin and change the lifes of many peopel.
If Sargeant Zona is the person to call, I will enter his number on my cell and stop and call as soon as I see these things happen.
Sargeant Zona is only the person to call if you have a direct tip (e.g. you know and recognize where bikes are being stored overnight, etc.) if not call the Police non-emergency number: 203-946-6316.
I agree with you on the cyclists, however, I ride my bike most always, and am sure to ride responsibly (follow no sidewalk rules, have not only reflectors, but actuall active lights)--I think it is the irresponsible riders/motorists of any kind that we are talking about here.
Two red/white dirt bikes were tearing up and down Poplar between Lombard & Pine St tonight, 9:30 - 10:00 pm.
One of the kids: http://seeclickfix.com/files/issue_images/0007/7320/bike4.jpg
They also drove from Pine to Fillmore, back again and then eventually crossed Grand and headed east. Extremely, extremely loud and even riding on the sidewalk, all in the dark.
So if you’ve just about had enough with the dirt bikers, here’s a constructive way to funnel that frustration. Let’s write the aldermen and ask them to take action and give the city more tools to deal with the dirt bikes. Just cut and paste the following letter (make changes of course if you want) into the main body of your e mail and then cut and paste the following addresses into the address portion.
Unite against illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVs!
Here are the addresses and then the letter.
Ward1@newhavenct.net, Ward2@newhavenct.net, Ward3@newhavenct.net, Ward4@newhavenct.net, Ward5@newhavenct.net, Ward6@newhavenct.net, Ward7@newhavenct.net, Ward8@newhavenct.net, Ward9@newhavenct.net, Ward10@newhavenct.net, Ward11@newhavenct.net, Ward12@newhavenct.net, Ward13@newhavenct.net, Ward14@newhavenct.net, Ward15@newhavenct.net, Ward16@newhavenct.net, Ward17@newhavenct.net, Ward18@newhavenct.net, Ward19@newhavenct.net, Ward20@newhavenct.net, Ward21@newhavenct.net, Ward22@newhavenct.net, Ward23@newhavenct.net, Ward24@newhavenct.net, Ward25@newhavenct.net, Ward26@newhavenct.net, Ward27@newhavenct.net, Ward28@newhavenct.net, Ward29@newhavenct.net, Ward30@newhavenct.net
If you are not aware, the illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVs on the streets of New Haven has become a serious public safety and quality of life issue. Earlier this year, a 7 year old girl was run over by a dirt bike as she waited on the sidewalk. Illegal use of dirt bikes in New Haven leads to injuries for both operators and innocent bystander and loss of quality of life for those who live in the neighborhoods where the dirt bikes and ATVs choose to illegally ride.
There has been considerable frustration among those who live in all the neighborhoods of New Haven at the inability of the city to stop or lessen the illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVs.
New Haven is not the only city faced with the illegal and dangerous use of dirt bikes and ATVs . The residents of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Boston have also looked for sustainable solutions to the issue.
I urge you to consider ordinances similar to those implemented in those cities. For example, banning the sale of dirt bikes and ATVs within city limits. Banning the sale of duel to dirt bikes and ATVs within city limits. Banning the ownership of dirt bikes and ATVs that are not locked or securely maintained at the residence of the owner.
Hey ClickFixers, time to start writing and e mailing the mayor’s office. Read below for details on the coalition to Stop Illegal Traffic (SIT)
New Haven Coalition to Stop Illegal Traffic
The New Haven Coalition to STOP ILLEGAL TRAFFIC (SIT) on our streets had its second meeting on Sept. 18. Alderman Justin Elicker reported that since our meeting last month, the city has started a concerted effort to address the issue of dangerous and illegal use of dirt bikes, all terrain vehicles, and other illegal motorized vehicles on our streets. Currently, police do not have the authority to seize and hold illegally operated motorized bikes and ATVs. Therefore, violators can reclaim impounded vehicles shortly after being caught by paying a small fine to the towing company.
On September 18, 2012, SIT members decided that the quickest way to make our streets safer is to rally the community in support empowering the city to take more aggressive actions against illegally operated dirt bikes and ATVs.
What the city is doing:
1. The Corporation Counsel (the lawyer for the city) has been directed to explore the legality of the city taking possession of non-registered dirt bikes, atvs, etc. that have been operated illegally and destroying them. Other enforcement ordinances are also being explored.
2. The City is in conversation with state legislators about state-level action.
What Coalition members and supporters are being asked to do:
a. Call the Office of the Mayor (203)946-8200 and tell the Mayor that you are concerned about this issue and that you want results by next summer 2013.
b. Write to the Mayor at MayorDestefano@newhavenct.net. You may want to include the following points:
“I am a concerned citizen who is frustrated by the increase in use of illegally operated dirt bikes and ATVs on New Haven streets, inside New Haven Parks, and near playgrounds and other recreation areas. It is my understanding that the NHPD has a long standing no-chase policy, which I agree with given the chances that a chase could result in injury of an innocent bystander. However, more needs to be done. I support the city’s effort to create policies that will eliminate the reckless behavior before someone else is killed. We’ve had many close calls already in 2012; a little girl was hit by a dirt biker while waiting at a bus stop with her dad, and a dirt biker himself suffered life-threatening injuries after losing control of an unregistered illegally operated dirt bike. Please, do what is necessary. You have my support!"
c. If you feel comfortable, go on www.SeeClickFix.org. Select a report of illegal dirt bike or ATV riding with multiple posts, and contribute your own comment. You have the option to comment anonymously on See, Click, Fix. If you comment anonymously you will be asked for an email address but it is not displayed with the comment.
Fair Haven Resident - Good question! This has started with an informal group of community leaders who connected with each other through word of mouth. We've met a couple of times to discuss different ways of dealing with the dirt bike issue. There is no official membership but we'd certainly like more people to get involved. We don't have a next meeting scheduled yet, but email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll keep you in the loop on this. Thanks!
Ward 10 Alderman
Hi Fair Haven Resident,
I am one of the community members connected to the STOP ILLEGAL TRAFFIC (SIT) on OUR streets. We are an informal group of residents from 10 neighborhoods in New Haven. There is no formal membership or set meeting schedule. We found each other through posts on See Click Fix and neighborhood connections. Since at the moment we don't have a public contact person, I will check to see it anyone is willing to act as a contact.
In the meanwhile, if you think it will help, please let the Mayor's Office know that this issue is a priority for you and your neighbors. If you do not believe this will help, then just don't do it. An argument about the right strategy will just take power away from the outcome we all want -- to STOP ILLEGAL TRAFFIC on OUR streets!
Thanks for taking the initiative.
Fair Haven Resident, you have your answer.
STOP ILLEGAL TRAFFIC on OUR streets!
I wish you had a SCF entry called New Haven Coalition to End Ilegal Traffic where I could post this. I am cross-posting here from another of the many entries on this issue. I am against these things on the road and have called them in numerous times. I have posted videos far more provocative than the one on the NHI site today (ATVs on I-91 in New Haven near Exit 4,3,2,1 for example) but I want this group to do it right and I have some major concerns following the story in the NHI this week. My thoughts follow:
I think the group is making a huge mistake not simultaneously advocating for a patch of accessible land for New Haven ATV and Dirt bike violators to ride legally. I am not a big fan of that, but recognize that the best of all possible solutions, realistically, includes this in conjunction with the institution of policies and laws allowing confiscation of these vehicles for riding on the roads.
I also have a question about the statute quoted in the NHI today: Section 29-133e, among a set of laws covering “mini cycles,” a category that includes “Pocketbikes, mini bikes, mini cycles, mini sport bikes, mini motorcycles, mini dirt bikes, chopper scooters, motor scooters, bicycles with helper motors.” The ordinance states that police officers who catch people riding mini cycles on city streets may take the bike “into the custody of the New Haven Police Department, at the owner’s expense, pending a disposition of such property by court order or otherwise by law and proof of ownership…”
Does that mean Vespas as well? It says "motor scooters." There are tons of minus-50cc scooters like Vespas in New Haven that I thought were legal. Or what about the friend of mine that has a tiny motor (I mean tiny, with very little power) attached to a regular bicycle, which I also thought was legal? And where in the law does it even mention three and four wheel off-road-only vehicles like the ATVs that are tearing all over town, often in groups of both ATVs and dirt bikes?
12 minutes ago · Flag
PS - I think the ordinance needs to be streamlined if it includes Vespa type scooters, for example, and needs to include ATVs. Remember, when there was a rash of gun-slinging gangs on bicycles a few years ago? The PD went overboard on the bicycle laws, hammering every bicyclist in town as if they were felons solely because they wanted to address this handful of gangs. the courthouse was throwing these collateral cases out as fast as they could, they were so annoying.
It seems whenever police get a new tool to handle a problem, they use the shotgun method --they target the problem and everyone with this new enforcement tool. So I just want to make sure that this ordinance doesn't come down, or can't be interpreted by cops as allowing, crack downs on completely non-threatening scooters etc.
I don't want to trade one quality of life problem for a solution that impinges on the quality of life of people using scooters and so on. We don't need the stress of indiscriminate enforcement bonanzas. We need a rule and policy targeting dirt bikes and ATVs. They are the problem
4 minutes ago · Flag
Here is another example of just the kind of thing we should avoid. This is an excerpt from a comment on the NHI story today:
"The other thing is that New Haven should be lobbying our state reps to require ANY motorized vehicle (ANY) to be registered with the DMV. The under 150CC not having to be registered is an open door for interpreting the rules of our road in different ways. "
I think this was inaccurate in that I think it is under 50cc, not 150cc, but here we have someone advocating a new layer of regulation, new duties and burdens and new costs on a class of riders who are NOT the problem: A Vespa, for example, under 50cc does not need to be registered or insured in Connecticut. You see them all over New Haven, operating safely. THis is an affordable, energy efficient mode of transportation that is attractive to people who can not or do not want to spend money insuring and maintaining and registering an automobile.
In all my years living in New Haven or anywhere else, I have not heard or read a single complaint about a scooter driver -- not one. Yet, because we have kids on dirt bikes and ATVs, yet again, people come out of the woodwork advocating the punishment and taxing of innocent people who are actually part of the solution! Does anyone know the mileage one gets on a Vespa on a gallon of gas? and how much less pollution they create over cars?????
I do think that since this group is taking the lead, it is not enough for you to get the ordinance, you need to insure that it is precise as well. Don't go around declaring you got a victory using a blunt blade when you owe it to all of us to use a scalpel, to be intelligent.
And I will add here that the cost of living in Connecticut is ranked third in the nation, with only Alaska and Hawaii being more expensive. So again, don't be blunt and obtuse and declare victory. Take responsibility to see that an intelligent, precise and targeted ordinance or law is enacted that does not hamper innocent scooter drivers and therefore hamper the quality of life here, and a vehicle that is absolutely a part of the solution.
Only a fool does not understand that my concerns are well-founded. When the cops were trying to address those groups of kids on bicycles a few years ago who had guns and were terrorizing the Edgewood neighborhood, they put ALL bicylcists through absolute living @#$% for about two years. ALL of us, professors, middle-aged people poking down the street etc.
So be Smart! Don't think it is good enough if the city comes up with some sweeping ordinance that allows them to stop anyone on a vespa or arrest that guy they've hated for years and can now finally harass head on since he happens to ride a Vespa, etc etc etc. ALL these scenarios are INEVITABLE if a badly written law emerges and people involved with getting new laws and rules NEVER seem to fully appreciate their responsibilities in that regard.
So, if Victor Bolden does not come up with a draft that is precise enough, rewrite it and demand a solution tailored to the problem.
Thank you for reading this.
We have this issue on Edgewood Ave from time to time. It's not daily, and I haven't seen the dirtbikers behave obnoxiously like this young fellow, but I'm glad to know an organization has formed. These kids are young and blowing off steam, but it is dangerous, and needs to be properly addressed. We're right next to a school, for instance. It could be a problem one day.
It's triply excellent that you came together on See Click Fix. Gives hope that we can clean up the city overtime at both ends of the economic spectrum.
I keep trying to post a response and it is not taking for some reason. Just writing to say that I have changed my mind about believing the group should simultaneously work on idea of a legal track/park to ride in. I think it is way too much to take on or ask of anyone. I am happy if there is a simple, precise well-written ordinance and is properly enforced that successfully takes these machines off the streets. I hope this gets posted, Not sure what the problem is.
Fairhaven -- I am writing because I can't do more in terms of contributed time. I am strapped. Sorry, so hoping to contribute with these thoughts.
By the way, here is another SCF thread on this -- called Criscuolo Field Dirtbike Sunday Gathering Spot
This one has the links to several videos
Can we all just face the facts that the cops are not doing their jobs and dont really care to? We have to go after the cops & mayor and stay on them or nothing will change. Criscuolo Park has a cop drive by every 10 minutes while these wheelie shows go on. This is a park, parks should be a place to bring your kids. Anyone who thinks this kind of behavior takes a generation to fix is wrong, it takes cops that like to do their jobs for the citizens that pay them. Last time I was at Criscuolo Park we were visited out on the fishing pier by 3 kids who were practicing forcing their scooters to do wheelies in the playing fields (unsuccessfully I might add).
I knew the old excuse that the cops hands are tied was BS, they just feel like somehow its OK because its New Haven and breaking laws is a normal thing here. You dont have to chase them like lives depend on it, you do have to chase them to save face with your employers(us).
I heard dirt bikes & quads drive by my house twice today and I was not here all day.
yeah, ok. So, I and the vast majority of new haveners consider New Haven PD's no chase policy absolutely essential.
Personally, speaking for myself, I not only agree with that, but additionally feel it is one of the only things New Haven PD does that is both right and smart. (In general the department makes no sense to me and causes more problems than it solves in my opinion)
No chase policies in a dense urban environment are required in all but the most unusual circumstances. Not only would illegal bikers be killed otherwise, but guaranteed innocent bystanders and motorists would be killed. A chase policy will produce that absolutely.
The majority of people in this group are on the right track focusing on laws that ban them and allow confiscation.
Tired of this issue? Then show your support this Tuesday 11/13 @ 6 p.m., all should attend, no excuses! If not you, and us, then who? Tell everyone you know and bring them along if needed--room should be packed, this may be our only chance for this type of City-wide meeting. Please distribute widely.
via Alderman Justin Elicker:
"There will be a public hearing on the dirt bike ATV issue Tuesday, 11/13 at 6pm in Board of Aldermen Chambers at City Hall. It's an opportunity for people to express their concerns about the dirt bike issue and for the City to talk about what we plan on doing. Could you all help get the word out?"
I am supportive of this meeting but will NOT support any proposal for changing the NO-PURSUIT policies of the NHPD. To correct one commenter, this policy did not originate from the ATV problem. It is a pretty longstanding policy that saves lives. Some of the worst accidents have been caused by pursuits in dense urban areas.
East Haven seemed to love pursuits. The last time they pursued someone (in a car) into New Haven, they caused an accident on the Q-Bridge during rush hour -- rush hour! A police car accidentally hit a commuter while pursuing another car.
An open pursuit policy is the height of folly. Those policies not only kill suspects, they main or kill innocent bystanders. That's why they don't do it unless absolutely necessary, like when lives depend on it -- like when a killer is fleeing and needs to be stopped.
No, not going to the meeting. New Haven is a tough place and my past participation only resulted in my being heavily harassed by city hall and police to the point where I had to get lawyers and became scared.
So, now I limit the the issues that get me involved to that level.
I am offering my input here in advance of the meeting instead and I would sign a petition specifically in support of the solutions I think are good:
This is what I would like the group as a whole to accomplish:
--An effort that focuses on confiscation.
-- Ordinances that are surgically precise to target ATVs and dirt bikes and don't inadvertently burden Scooter drivers, Vespas etc. (Bikes under 50cc, excempt from DMV registration should remain exempt), bicyclers etc. The one on the books now needs to be changed to prevent collateral damage to people who aren't riding dirt bikes and ATVs
-- NO change to the non-pursuit policy, but bring to NHPD attention that some people who have called in the storage location of bikes, aren't getting the NHPD followup they are promised.
That's my position. You know what it is. Thanks.
Thank you, Fairhavener; I was coming over to post the same meeting announcement on all the dirt bike posts! :)
And guest, we don't need to change the no-pursuit policies in order to get these guys. We already have photographs, videos and the names / addresses / other identifying information for many of these punks. What we DO need is for the police to have more power to seize and KEEP dirt bikes. Right now it's way too easy for these guys to get their bikes bike from the tow yard. Things would be so different if they couldn't get their bikes back!
Hi XX, confiscating the bikes/ATVs so that they can't just come reclaim them in a few hours or days would put a chill on these kids right quick.
I think that is our best shot.
But the ordinance has to be rewritten -- it is too general/vague right now and could be used to make life miserable for people on bicycles and little scooters and so on.
I think would be better to write one from scratch that specifically targets dirt bikes and ATVs.
So, that shouldn't be so hard --
PS, I am interested in the possibility of permanent confiscation of the vehicles, but an worried this isn't going to be as easy as it seems.
I think there has got to be a court process involved in that, like drug seizure laws where they take the property before you are even convicted of anything. Then, if you are acquitted, you have to go through a process to get it back.
I am supportive of that for dirt bikes and ATVs. I think it is the only thing that is going to have an impact on it in New Haven.
As far as I am concerned, the court is full of unnecessary arrests, many of innocent people, especially in the misdemeanor category, so this would be a far far better use of court and police resources. It would actually be useful instead of destructive.
I am all for it. See no downside.
In my opinion, a confiscate-no return law our best bet. Baltimore was able to convince the Maryland State Legislature to pass a law allowing them to confiscate and destroy dirt bikes and ATVs.
Next step should be taking the issue to State Senators Looney, Harp and Lemar. This needs to be on their agenda for the next session of the state legislature. I'm sure they will find supporters from other urban areas as well (Bridgeport, Hartford etc).
"The city cannot fight a lawsuit brought by a dirt bike or ATV operator if there is a "no chase" policy in effect."
I don't know where that is coming from or what it means. First, it isn't true. Second, chases will get the police sued.
I think you might be under the false impression that if there is not a chase policy, they will never be able to confiscate a bike and if so, I can see why you would want it. The fact is, they are very good at finding these bikes without chasing, they just need a law to stop them from having to return the bikes to the owners.
There is a reason why the cops are asking for the ability to permanently confiscate the bikes and not one cop is requesting they be allowed to chase them.
"not one cop is requesting they be allowed to chase them. " I believe that is a false statement. proof?
"very good at finding these bikes" false statement again. proof?
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Thanks for explaining your point of view. I see what you are referring to.
All I know is that I just want to keep my eye on the ball. The goal is to get the vehicles off the streets and I think having the laws they need to confiscate more permanently, and maybe ban sales of the vehicles in New Haven too, could have a serious impact very quickly. This is the tool the police keep saying they need and in a rare instance, I happen to agree with them (lol)
I am not one of the people who feel police don't know where to find the bikes/ATVs and take them when it is safer to do so. I think they do. Lots of people know lots of the places where they are kept, so for me, that's not the part I am worried about. I think they are going to have no problem apprehending them.
There are lots of contacts between police and this biking community. They know each other pretty well.
As for the flagrant weekly get together at the park on Chapel and James, I am not sure why police can not corral them in there. It is an open question. It is a group that meets predictably and I would be curious to know what police strategy is for that particular event. I've been wondering about that too.
Keep in mind that I am as terrorized by these things as you are. For years in the warm months they whizzed past my car on Whalley in large packs -- I just used to stop until they were done flying by, seemed like the safest thing to do. Also, a dirt biker on a sidewalk harassed me when I was a pedestrian, scaring the bejesus out of me. So I want them off the road and done with. I would like the kids to throw their talents into something on this side of the law, despite, obviously, their completely ridiculous parents.
I think if we just sit tight through one more summer, a new law is going to kick in, maybe taking effect in October, the month most new laws go into effect. I hope.
In the meantime come this spring maybe police can do more of a crackdown, confiscating them more constantly - catch and release - until they can do more.
I will be closing dirt bike/ATV complaints that pre-date the conclusion of the police undercover operation (see www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/9_arrested_in_dirt_bike_sting/). I do not expect the dirt bike/ATV issue to be completely solved, but it will be helpful to policing efforts to distinguish new reports from those before this recent operation.
Please open up new SCF issues as dirt bike/ATV issues re-occur.
- Rob Smuts, Chief Administrative Officer
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