Jonathan's Law would increase penalties for operating illegal dirt bikes, motorcycles, ATVs

Lawmakers want illegal dirt bikes, motorcycles, and ATVs off New York City streets. The City Council is currently working on a bill that would double the fine for riding the illegal vehicles and also give the NYPD more enforcement power. 

But that process will take some time. So nearly two dozen council members want Mayor Bill de Blasio to intervene and use his executive powers to implement the law now.  

"The dirt bikes are out of control," Councilman Oswald Feliz said.

These illegal dirt bikes, motorcycles, and ATVs have become an issue throughout the city especially in Upper Manhattan since March 2020 when they began to explode in popularity while most other vehicles stayed off the streets due to the pandemic.

"These dirt bikes and ATVs for the first quarter of this year have already led to eight fatalities and 350 injuries," Councilman Mark Gjonaj said.

Jonathan's Law would be named after a 4-year-old boy who was critically hurt when the rider of an illegal dirt bike slammed into him in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. 

The NYPD has confiscated hundreds of illegal bikes and destroyed them. But dozens of City Council members say more needs to be done including increasing the fine to $750 for the first offense, $1,500 for subsequent offenses as well as giving the NYPD more power. 

"We need the NYPD to be allowed to pursue and apprehend these illegal dirt bike users," Gjonaj said.

But until the legislation passes, lawmakers and residents are concerned about the illegal dirt bikes and ATVs racing in the streets and weaving in and out of traffic at all hours of the day and night. So 23 council members want de Blasio to use his executive power for now.

"We want these dirt bikes off the street," said Joe Thompson, the president of the 49th Precinct community council.

The mayor's office said that City Hall is exploring all options. 

"We are looking to take the best action possible to get more dirt bikes off the street and look forward to reviewing the bills," Bill Neidhardt, a spokesperson for the mayor, said in a statement.

In the meantime, the NYPD is asking New Yorkers to report illegal bikes by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS.

Get breaking news alerts in the FOX5NY News app. Download for FREE!