A legislative proposal in the D.C. Council seeks to target the use of illegal-off road vehicles by banning riders from filling their fuel tanks at District gas stations.
Council member Yvette Alexander from the District’s Ward 7 introduced the ATV Gasoline Prohibition Amendment Act of 2016 Tuesday in response to growing concern over the dangers of ATVs on city streets. Alexander wants to stop the sale of gasoline to anyone driving an ATV or dirt bike in the city to curb the use of such vehicles on public roadways. The plan is modeled after similar laws in Baltimore, reports Fox 5.
The proposal includes stiff penalties for gas stations that violate the law — including offenders spending up to 90 days in jail and paying a maximum fine of $1,000.
“These ATVs have taken over the roads, and people fear them,” Alexander told Fox 5. “They terrorize our neighborhoods, and people are fed up.”
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) launched an effort to crack down on illegal ATV riders in April, releasing photos of various vehicles involved in crimes and persons of interests. Authorities asked residents for any information on the riders, and have arrested over 100 people and seized roughly 400 off-road vehicles since they began a targeted operation a year ago. (VIDEO: ATV Rider Taunts Police, Speeds Recklessly Down Maryland Highway)
Regular accidents are causing concern among local residents, despite the increased focus on off-road vehicles. A speeding ATV veered into oncoming traffic and suffered a head-on collision with a car Monday afternoon in a Maryland county, killing a 21-year-old and injuring three.
Police are instructed to stand down and not pursue ATVs breaking the law as to protect the safety of officers and pedestrians. The laws banning ATV and dirt bike use on roadways are regularly ignored throughout the D.C. metropolitan area by gangs that police say intentionally attract attention in attempts to start police chases.
“Here in Frederick County, we do see a lot of ATVs on the roadway,” Bart Ruppenthal, a police corporal with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, told Fox 5. “We receive a lot of complaints about the riding of ATVs on the road illegally, riding on other people’s property, illegally trespassing, causing damage.”
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