The city of Columbus plans to increase the penalties for illegal and dangerous ATV and dirt bike riding and work with other Franklin County jurisdictions on enforcement. Columbus City Council members say they've received hundreds of calls about reckless activity on city streets and in neighborhoods.
Columbus Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight described one of several videos authorities obtained with a large group of about 40 riders that started their trek on West Broad Street.
"But they traverse the entire city to Livingston Avenue, Cleveland Avenue, and Morse Road," Deputy Chief Knight continued. "They actually take over both sides of the roadways at multiple times. They're popping wheelies. They're taking the vehicles onto the sidewalks where there's individuals on the sidewalks. They go through red lights. They're doing burnouts. They're cutting in front of individuals. It's amazing to me that we haven't had a loss of life due to this."
The multi-jurisdictional strategy has several components.
"Increase fines, identify the individuals involved, pursue multiple charges, impound the vehicles, and stop this dangerous behavior," Knight said of the plan. "With the help of Columbus City Council, we're actually going to pass legislation to increase the fines of up to $1,000. We're putting everybody on notice. Enforcement is going to start immediately."
Council considers the legislation on Monday. City officials say they hope to discourage dangerous behavior before there's a loss of life. Authorities are also asking the public to help identify any reckless riders in their neighborhoods.