New Bedford Councilor Giesta Responds to ATV and Dirt Bike Issue

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New Bedford Ward 2 Councilwoman Maria Giesta is the first to file a petition relating to the growing problem of illegal abuse of ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets.

The. The New Bedford City Council is set to discuss the issue of illegal ATV/dirt bike use.

Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

Roving gangs of illegal drivers reportedly taunt police, firefighters and EMT personnel by driving dangerously through neighborhoods, terrorizing some motorists as they passed. It’s not a new problem, but it resurfaces every spring when the weather starts to warm up.

Greg Desrosiers/TSM – New Bedford mayoral candidate Maria Giesta at her campaign kickoff event in February.

Greg Desrosiers/Townsquare Media

Giesta said illegal riders of ATVs and dirt bikes are “intimidating” and can be “very scary” to some, especially older riders. She said the activity was “clearly not permitted on city streets, and that’s what we need to focus on.”

“We’ve been lucky so far that no one has been seriously injured,” she said.

WBSM 1420 via YouTube

WBSM 1420 via YouTube

Giesta’s motion seeks to call Police Chief Paul Oliveira before the council’s Ordinance Committee to discuss ways to remedy the situation. She hopes an order can be drafted as soon as possible to help police tackle the issue, although she admits the upcoming budget process could delay action on her motion for some time.

Giesta asks residents to report any information they may have about the riders, such as where they store their ATVs and dirt bikes. She also asked State Representative Chris Hendricks to explore possible legislative solutions to the problem plaguing most municipalities in Massachusetts.

Taunton and Boston have already enacted ordinances that they hope will reduce illegal ATV and dirt bike activity within their borders. Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee have announced a cooperative effort to combat the problem, and Fall River is currently drafting an order.

Giesta’s motion was submitted for consideration at Thursday’s City Council meeting and will likely be referred to the Ordinances Committee chaired by Ward Three Councilor Hugh Dunn.

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