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City Council responds to ATV crackdown opposition

Council today approved a warning period before increased penalties are put in place and assured the public that they are still looking into a legal outlet.

City Council on Thursday voted to pass an amendment to a bill introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown that would allow police to fine those who park their ATVs or dirt bikes in public areas and possibly confiscate the vehicles. The amendment allows for an initial warning period during which violators will be stopped, but not penalized.

"We know these vehicles can be unsafe, especially when ridden in our neighborhoods in an inappropriate way, especially when police are chasing down these young men when they're doing their wheelies and showing off, as we know young men do," said Judith Robinson, who appeared on behalf of the ATV riders of North Central Philadelphia to oppose the crackdown. "We, as adults who know to do the right thing, here's an opportunity to give these young men something to do other than get a gun in their hand and shoot up a neighborhood." She urged the city to find land on which the riders can legally practice.

"We are first going to deal with the issue of public safety because that was my impetus for introducing the legislation, anyway," Reynolds Brown said in response. "Like my skateboarding bill, like my lead bill, I will convene a task force and we will meet with all the stakeholders and do exactly what they recommended, which is find nonpublic non-park land for [riders] to do it in a way that is legal." The bill will likely go up for a final vote next week.

 
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