(WTNH) – Cities and towns all across Connecticut have been having problems with people riding terrain vehicles on sidewalks, streets, and parks. Fines and confiscation of the ATVs are helping curb the illegal activity a little, but one city thinks it has a better idea.
The warmer weather is bringing out more illegal ATV riders.
“I have seen them run red lights. I’ve been caught off,” said Aidee Nieves, Bridgeport City Council President.
The Bridgeport City Council passed an ordinance to ensure gas station owners prohibit people from pumping gas into any all-terrain vehicles that are not properly secured to a hitch or trailer.
“We did it with cigarettes, lottery tickets, and for this as well, this is just the beginning,” said Michelle Lyons, Bridgeport City Councilor.
“Most municipalities are going through this together and we are just doing what other municipalities are doing like New Haven, Hartford to ensure there is really public safety on the streets,” Nieves said.
Gas stations in Bridgeport could be fined up to $250 if police see ATV riders filling up at their pumps.
“Advise them, ‘listen this is going to be done. This ordinance that has been passed, you must abide by it,’” said Rebecca Garcia, Bridgeport Interim Police Chief.
New Haven passed a similar ordinance at the end of 2021. Besides warning for first offenses, New Haven police have not issued any fines to gas stations.
“Did it make sense to take the time and money in a town meeting to do something that’s not happening,” said Mike Fox, executive director of Gasoline & Automotive Service Dealers of America, Inc.
Fox believes the ordinances vilify gas stations when they’re not the problem.
“The people with authority go up to the person with the ATV and stop them from filling it up. Why are you even involving local service stations,” Fox said.
News 8 has heard from many CT police departments that have stepped up enforcement. Hartford police have made it known they’ll confiscate and destroy illegal ATVs and dirt bikes. Bridgeport gas stations will have to abide by the new ordinance beginning June 13.
Until the law goes into effect, the city council and police will be educating gas stations to make sure they are prepared and there’s no confusion.