The Connecticut House of Representatives approved a bill giving municipalities the ability to regulate dirt bike use by a 116-24 vote Wednesday.
The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Patricia Dillon, D-New Haven, allows municipalities to pass ordinances that mandate areas and times that dirt bike use is permitted, and increases the maximum fine that can be administered to violators.
If the bill passes, the maximum fine for first-time violators will increase from $250 to $1,000. Additionally, second-time violators may be fined up to $1,500 and third-time violators up to $2,000. The legislation is specific to dirt bikes and excludes ATVs and other “motor-driven cycles” from its definition.
The bill’s next legislative hurdle will be the Senate, where a couple of legislators have expressed support for the bill, including Sen. Martin Looney, D-New Haven.
Looney testified in favor of Dillon’s bill in April in front of the Judiciary Committee, saying dirt bikes have become a “nuisance” in New Haven and have created a hazard for pedestrians and motorists. Looney also has sponsored a bill in the Senate that would require the Department of Motor Vehicles to conduct a study regarding a title system for dirt bikes that would allow municipalities to track the number of bikes and their owners.
Last month, Father James Manship of St. Rosa of Lima Church in New Haven captured on video a dirt biker who he said was terrorizing a neighborhood. Manship knew that dirt-bikers have been giving fits to neighbors and cops all over town with reckless driving, so he captured a photo and sent it to police.