On Thursday October 25, 2012—City Council passed a bill introduced by Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown related to All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs).
The bill restricts riders from operating, parking, stopping, placing or standing ATVs on a public sidewalk or public property including parks and recreation centers unless authorized by law. The bill gives the Philadelphia Police Department the authority to confiscate vehicles found to be in violation of the ordinance. Alternatively, Police can issue a $2000 fine if riders can prove that the value of the vehicle is in excess of $2000. The bill gives authority to the police department to dispose of ATVs either by destruction or in a manner that prevents vehicles from easily making their way back to Philadelphia streets.
The bill was amended from its original form to allow a community education campaign to advise ATV owners and riders of the new law. An amendment also provides an exception for ATV owners who park the vehicles outside their property. Councilwoman Reynolds Brown has worked with the Administration, Police Department, the Philadelphia Parking Authority, community organizations, private sector business owners and citizens on all sides of the issue–all of whom were in attendance at a four hour public hearing on October 3, 2012.
“I have made clear that this is step one in a multi step process. First we have to get a handle on public safety, giving police the enforcement tools they need to crack down on what remains an illegal activity—riding ATVs in our public sidewalks, streets and parks,” said Councilwoman Reynolds Brown. “However, as has been my practice, I do not take a ‘my way or the highway’ approach. We are committed to sitting down with ATV enthusiasts for whom riding is a fun, recreational activity, and those in the private sector who see an opportunity for a safe and profitable business venture. The conversation continues.”
According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 521 deaths have been recorded in Philadelphia from 1982-2010 as a result of ATVs; from 1982-2006, 105 deaths were of children under the age of 16.
Other large cities have implemented solutions to crack down on the problem. Sting operations are conducted in New York City and in Baltimore, gas stations are banned from providing fuel to ATVs and parents could be jailed for allowing a minor to ride. The Councilwoman intends to continue working closely with the Mayor’s Office, Police, concerned citizens and community leaders to examine best practices that make sense for Philadelphia