NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Local leaders gathered in New Haven on Thursday to announce a new regional task force that will crack down on the use of illegal dirt bikes and ATVs in public areas and city streets.
Connecticut officials said that these illegal dirt bike and ATV riders put many lives at risk.
Due to the dangers, city and town leaders from all over Connecticut have joined together to create a joint regional task force that aims to put the brakes on these bikes.
“They wreak havoc on the community, they take over streets, they disobey traffic laws,” New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said.
According to their discussion, some of the task force’s new solutions are to assign at least one police officer to be a regular member of the force and to have participants in a weekly intelligence sharing and strategy meeting.
Officials also said they are increasing arrest warrants and surveillance in various towns.
About two months ago, nearly 300 bike riders took over the Merritt Parkway, authorities said. These bikes often hit the roads at a high rate of speed and create havoc by weaving in and out of traffic.
”I saw it first hand the havoc it created, the consternation and the fear in the people who stuck there,” said Michael Freda, North Haven First Selectman.
These bikes are not only found on neighborhood streets and highways but they’re also seen on dirt roads. Most recently, viewers captured images of illegal dirt bikers on the Regional Water Authority property, where people are known to hike.
“We may not catch you the first time, we may not catch you the second time, we will catch you,” said New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson.
Officials say people caught riding dirt bikes illegally will face a fine of up to $1,000 and possible jail time.
So far this year, 33 bikes have already been taken off New Haven streets.