Albany, NY

Opinion: Spring brings ATV's, dirt bikes, tip line and motorcycles

Carol Durant
ATVCarol Durant

Happy Spring! Hopefully the edict from the groundhog is over and I can trade my snow shovel for a garden trowel. In addition to daylight savings time and the rockin' robins, cars will be sharing the road with legal motorcycle riders and illegal all terrain vehicles (ATV) and dirtbikes. There are rules of the road and wearing a helmet in New York is the law. Albany, New York has been besieged with illegal operation of ATVs and dirt bikes on the city streets. They are weaving in and out of traffic and increasing the noise pollution with modified engines and mufflers. This is obviously dangerous and upsetting. These droves of illegal riders were taunting one of the local fire departments in the Arbor Hill neighborhood. These riders are mostly under the age of 16 and as an operator of a dirt bike or ATV are not required to have a driver's license. There is now a tip line in the City of Albany (518) 462-1818 to report this illegal activity.

Is it possible that we as citizens and government officials can use this opportunity to work to positively address this situation, instead of the usual prison pipeline? Is there a plot of land in the City of Albany or Albany County that these riders can use to operate their vehicles? They could be taught safety measures, how to fix, repair and maintain their rides. The City and the County could create another line item, hire staff with the federal funds that were received and turn a hazardous and negative situation into a safe and positive one. A few of these young riders might have an undiscovered talent to ride. Oh, look, here is a business that is privately owned in Albany County where they can learn to ride in proper dirt conditions.

We citizens could certainly urge our government officials to fund or enact a collection to rent, buy or lease trailers to transport the vehicles and the riders. What do you think? Call or email your Common Council member or the Mayor's office. Let's work together and win!

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Writer, author, poet, playwright

Albany, NY

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