ATV, dirt bikes are such a menace that NJ city adopts new gas station law
ATLANTIC CITY — Another New Jersey city is cracking down on ATVs and dirt bikes, this time cutting off a source of fuel.
ATVs and dirt bikes a growing problem in NJ
By law, all-terrain vehicles cannot be driven on paved surfaces in New Jersey. That hasn't stopped packs of rowdy riders from terrorizing neighborhoods and being a hazard on city streets as they pop wheelies and race, officials said.
Atlantic City's new law for ATVs
The Atlantic City Council adopted an ordinance by a 7-2 vote Wednesday to ban the city's five gas stations from fueling up ATVs and dirt bikes that pull up to the pumps in an attempt to keep them off city streets.
The exception to the law are ATVs and dirt bikes secured to a trailer or truck.
The ordinance took effect immediately.
The vote came after Department Acting Chief James Sarkos explained the need for the ordinance.
"The whole idea is we just don’t want these motorcycles and ATVs coming to Atlantic City. We’re trying to make it as uncomfortable as possible for them to come to Atlantic City. They can't gas the vehicles up,” Atlantic City Police Department Acting Chief James Sarkos told the Council.
Sarkos said he hoped other towns will pass similar ordinances, making it very difficult to gas up in the entire region. Absecon has already put a fueling ban in place.
Atlantic City does not fault gas stations for ATVs
Sarkos said the intent is not to be a "gotcha" to the gas stations but rather to work as partners to get the ATVs and dirt bikes off the streets.
Four of the five stations signed a statement in support of the ordinance and a fifth gave verbal approval. The stations would be provided with signage to back up the law.
"If they still feel threatened they can put gasoline in the vehicle and notify the police department within an hour it's not a violation of the ordinance," Sarkos told the meeting.
Violators could be fined between $500 and $1,000 for the first offense and up to $2,000 for a second offense.
Opposition to Atlantic City ATV fueling law
Councilman Bruce Weekes voted against the ordinance because he believes it puts the burden onto gas stations and it needs more work to take gas stations completely off the hook for enforcement.
He said Assemblyman Don Guardian, a former mayor, is also working on legislation on the problem of ATVs in urban areas.
ATVs a statewide problem
"This is a statewide problem. Police are looking at it, people across the state are talking about the same things our chief said with regards to security," Weekes said. "I get calls about the ATVs disturbing people and senior citizens. It's a problem everywhere."
Jersey City's Municipal Council voted to impound ATVs, dirt bikes, and snowmobiles driven on public streets. Unregistered or uninsured dirt bikes or ATVs simply left on a public street or sidewalk can also be impounded.