Monday, April 27, 2009 - By Ben Berkowitz - 5 comments

Illegal ATV'S on City Streets is a hot issue on SeeClickFix

With nearly 4500 views and 170 comments an issue about roving packs of ATV'rs became a big story in New Haven.

A few things that were particularly interesting about this issue that demonstrate the usefulness of the tool:

1) There are multiple viewpoints on the issue including those of ATV riders who believe there should be more riding trails.

2) Two newspapers picked up the story from the issue which was clearly of interest to the community. and
It was interesting to see the way the issue was covered from two different perspectives. The New Haven Independent actually got a ride along with the police department who made arrests this weekend which leads me to the next point:

3) Police Involvement. From the Register article:
"The police department has launched what has been informally dubbed a “quad squad” in an effort to crack down on illegal dirt bikes and ATVs.

Community leaders have complained for years about the vehicles and the police chief says they have roared up and down city streets with impunity — until now.

Over the weekend, the department seized 10 dirt bikes and two ATVs, along with a stolen motorcycle, after dedicating 12 officers each day to finding, stopping and confiscating the all-terrain vehicles which speed, dodge and weave through traffic on crowded city streets, tear up parks and cause Eula Pendarvis’ mirror to rattle on her wall when they race in packs by her house in the Hill neighborhood."

and from the New Haven Independent Article:

"A recent complaint on the website SeeClickFix describing a group of ATVs “barreling down East Street at top speed” provoked over 175 comments. Posters shared their many sightings of reckless dirt bikers. ATV riders reportedly roam in packs, whipping through red lights and weaving through traffic at high speeds. Several of the comments on SeeClickFix called for immediate police action to take care of the noisy and dangerous ATV menace.

“Get these guys off the road (and out of the park) before they kill someone!” wrote one anonymous commenter.

“This needs addressing immediately,” wrote East Rockette. “Please stop them before they run into us!”

“Why don’t they just sit an officer out there, in plainclothes, with backup a minute away?” wrote Streever.

As it happened, that’s almost exactly what they did. On Saturday and Sunday, two unmarked cars with plainclothes detectives were patrolling the city, on the lookout for illegal ATV use. In addition, there were six squad cars on the streets ready to respond quickly to calls from the detectives.

Their strategy, according to supervising officer Bombalicki, was to find ATV riders in action and “box ‘em in,” close in on the bikers with several squad cars and cut off their escape routes.

The weekend operations were ordered by Chief James Lewis, who Bombalicki said “wasn’t happy” about ATVs on New Haven streets."

Its exciting to see that citizens using the SeeClickFix tool have the power to tell the government and police as well as the press what is important to them when it comes to the public space.


  1. franko says:

    We have the same disrespectful,rude atv riders in Pittston,Pa.18640 for the past eleven years. What do we do>

  2. Ben says:

    Hey Franko,
    You should post the issue on and create a watch area for your local police so they are notified.

    You should also encourage your neighbors to come on and comment.

    Adding a photo or a video as well seems to really help document and get the media's attention.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Give us more room to ride!!! We have no options!!! The closest park from me 3 hours one way!
    In many counties ATV is legal if you install turn signals.
    What's the difference if I drive ATV or Motorcycle on the street??? Motocycle is way more dangerous.
    Alex. Columbus, Ohio

  4. The police are going to stop and terrorize you if it was legal or not, it's not about the bikes, it's about the kids having not saling drugs, robbing, carjacking so now the police don't have anybody to beat up on, because they're all out riding their bikes. Just like Alex said give us some where to ride. Make it legal to ride on the streets, atvs are safer then motorcycles and surely safer then scooters. Dah!!!!! Tj Columbus, Ohio

  5. Anonymous says:

    In Ohio they take our tax dollars to build parks, trails for walkers, heck even dog parks. They won't use our tax dollars and build dirt bike and atv trails. Even a portion of gasoline is taxed for off road development but you see nothing. If you build for one then build for all. Otherwise get out of spending our tax dollars on things we don't value. Political run a muck.

    Use some of that $2 million you are holding and open up snow mobile trails using the money for extra maintenance. Alum Creek is a great place to start.

Post a Comment