The Providence City Council Committee on Ordinances tonight approved a measure that aims to give police officers greater latitude in addressing the city’s growing challenges with illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVs. In recent months, the city has seen an alarming uptick of these vehicles being used on city roads and in public parks, sometimes swarming in large numbers to intimidate onlookers. This winter, one motorist was killed while operating an ATV on a city street in the Manton neighborhood.
If approved by the full City Council, the ordinance will allow the Providence Police Department to confiscate and destroy recreational vehicles that are used illegally. The ordinance, adapted from a similar law in New York City, has already earned support from the Providence Police Department. “Over the past several years, Providence has experienced a growing number of recreational vehicles being driven on public streets and in public parks,” said Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steve Pare. “These vehicles are driven recklessly, driven at high speeds and with no regard for the safety of others. This ordinance will allow the Providence Police Department to combat this problem in a way that will reduce and eventually eliminate the public safety threat that exists today.”
The ordinance is sponsored by Councilwoman Jo-Ann Ryan (Ward 5). “This is a city-wide issue that has great implications for the quality of life in all of our neighborhoods,” said Councilwoman Ryan. “I want to thank Captain Dean Isabella for his valuable insight. This ordinance gives our police officers the tools they need to deal with the growing epidemic of illegal vehicles abusing our traffic laws and endangering the public.”
“We are doing everything we possibly can to rid the city of the ATVs and dirt bikes terrorizing our parks and neighborhoods,” said Councilman Michael Correia (Ward 6), who recently called upon the police department for increased enforcement.
Prior to becoming law, the ordinance requires two passages from the full City Council. The next City Council meeting will be held on Thursday, May 4th at 7:00 pm.