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Legislation to Combat Illegal ATVs in Buffalo

First it was the fireworks, and then the ATVs. Or maybe the ATVs came first? Either way, ATVs on our city’s streets, parks, sidewalks, railroad tracks, highways, and everywhere else, has presented a problem that has gotten out of control.

As a way to curb this unlicensed activity of ATVs and similar motor vehicles, Fillmore District Council Member Mitch Nowakowski and Lovejoy District Council Member Bryan Bollman have introduced an ordinance amendment to Chapter 309 of the Buffalo City Code, which spells out the illegal nature of these vehicles. The amendment also introduces new penalties for violations, which is the only way to gain any real traction with the ordinance amendment.

“These ordinance amendments help law enforcement to appropriate illegal ATV’s and put requirements on their retrieval so they do not constantly wreak havoc on our streets,” said Fillmore District Council Member Mitch Nowakowski. “As legislators it is our job to make sure that the residents of this city are safe, and I believe this legislation is a huge step in the fight against illegal ATV operation.”

Penalties for illegally operating an ATV will include a fine of up to $2,500 and seizure of the vehicle.

In recent years, more and more of these types of vehicles have been appearing on city streets, which has become a problem on a number of fronts. Not only are they reckless, typically speeding and weaving in and out of traffic, they create unsafe roadway scenarios for the drivers themselves, and for motorists and pedestrians. This is evidenced by several incidents last year in Buffalo which resulted in serious injury and loss of life, according to Nowakowski and Bollman. 

“We have witnessed a significant increase in ATV activity on the streets and parks in our neighborhoods creating an unacceptable threat to public safety that left residents demanding solutions,” said Lovejoy District Council Member Bryan Bollman. “This amendment aims to provide solutions and tools for authorities to make an impact and decrease the number of reckless, unlawful vehicles endangering the pedestrians and drivers in The City of Buffalo.”

Moving forward, anyone caught driving an illegally-operated ATV will be issued a fine up to $2500, along with seizure of the vehicle. In order to retrieve an impounded ATV, a person will be required to present proof of ownership, thus ensuring that the vehicle is not stolen, while establishing future accountability for the owner. These measures should help to address this escalating public nuisance in Buffalo. 

Now the biggest problem will be attempting to catch them.

Lead image: Photo by Devon Janse van Rensburg

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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