COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A crackdown on illegal dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles could soon be coming to central Ohio.
Columbus Police said the vehicles are a problem in all parts of the city with riders often taking over city streets, against traffic and some on sidewalks.
“So arrogant of them, particularly those on dirt bikes or the other off-road vehicles that aren’t even licensed,” said Short North resident David Hoover. “It feels like they feel they can’t be touched.”
Columbus City Council will consider approving pricier punishments at its meeting Monday night.
City leaders said the measure isn’t just about noise, but also how dangerous the vehicles can be, and both police and city council are trying to find a solution.
According to police, they’ve received more than 700 calls about the ATVs and dirt bikes causing issues on streets all across the city.
“I can say it’s not just at night,” said Short North resident Karla Trott. “On the weekend, it starts about 10 or 11 in the morning and goes the entire day.”
Last week, several central Ohio police departments and some Columbus City councilmembers showed video of the off-road vehicles driving on city streets, popping wheelies, and taking over the road.
Police said they’re going to start doing more to stop this.
The measure city council will vote upon Monday would increase fines to between $500 and $1,000 and would also allow police to impound the vehicles.
“I think it’s a starting point,” Trott said. “This is a really difficult situation for the police. With the increase in crime currently, they have to prioritize what they’re taking care of, we all understand that.”
Short North residents who have seen the vehicles on their streets agree with the city – this isn’t just a noise issue, but a safety one as well.
“The noise is problematic because it is also evidence of potential – there’s one now – potential for someone getting hurt or killed,” Hoover said.
Residents also said the off-road vehicles are just part of the problem.
“I know now steps are going to be taken to address that one segment of the problem, but it’s a small segment of what we’re dealing with here and all over the city,” Hoover said.
Also on council’s agenda for Monday’s meeting is a measure that would establish a designated outdoor refreshment area (DORA) in the city’s Arena District.
If approved, the DORA would be in effect on home game days for the Columbus Clippers, Columbus Crew, and Columbus Blue Jackets.