Schenectady City Council to schedule public hearing on ATV crackdown legislation

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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Schenectady City Council plans to schedule a public hearing on legislation that could crackdown on the use of dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets and in parks.

The city councilor behind the proposed legislation in Schenectady, Karen Zalewski-Wildzunas, says ATVs and dirt bikes are a growing problem within city limits, and that their improper use puts not only the general public at risk but also those operating the vehicles.

According to Zalewski-Wildzunas, a dirt bike operator crashed and died in the city in October. In March, a Schenectady police officer was hit by an ATV during a call.

This is not a new issue in Schenectady, but officials say with less to do during the pandemic, it’s gotten much worse. The police department has confiscated a number of vehicles this year.

Schenectady Police told NEWS10 the frequency of calls about ATVs and dirt bikes increases as the weather warms up, and during that time, it’s not uncommon for them to get 10 or more of those calls per day. They say not only do they come in from their dispatch centers as calls for service, but also as phone calls, e-mails, and anonymous messages as complaints and concerns.

The proposed city council legislation would increase the fines for people operating illegally.

Zalewski-Wildzunas says the majority of the proposed legislation is modeled after the ATV law recently passed in Albany. “It’s just not happening here in Albany and Schenectady,” she said. “It’s happening in urban areas throughout the state.”

Zalewski-Wildzunas believes there will be wide support in the council for this legislation, and hopes it will be passed by summer.

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