PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As we head toward summer, Providence’s mayor and police chief took some time Thursday to show what could happen if someone is caught riding a recreational vehicle on city streets.
It’s a problem that’s plagued the city in recent years, and Mayor Brett Smiley has made it a priority to curb this illegal activity. The city has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to dirt bike and ATV use.
“To those looking forward to Memorial Day because they think it’s a great opportunity to go out and ride, we want to be clear that Providence police will be stopping and confiscating these illegal vehicles,” Smiley said.
Last month, the mayor launched a community response team and met with members of the biking community in an effort to address the issue and make the city safer for residents and visitors. The proactive strategy is working, he said, noting how 63 recreational vehicles have been seized so far this year and police have made 24 arrests.
Several of those confiscated vehicles were crushed by a front loader and dropped into a dumpster on Thursday.
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Smiley said that while people may continue to see recreational vehicles being used on city streets, he assured there’s been fewer incidents and police will continue with the crackdown.
“These vehicles are dangerous,” he said. “The use of illegal ATVs and dirt bikes makes our streets unsafe and pose a tremendous risk to those who operate them.”
“We have all seen these ATVs disobey traffic laws and put others — including themselves — at risk by running red lights and speeding and riding these illegal vehicles recklessly,” Col. Oscar Perez added. “This reckless behavior puts other motorists and people walking in the streets in harm’s way.”
Anyone with information on illegal recreational vehicles is asked to call the city’s ATV tip line at (401) 680-TATV (8288) or send an email to ATVtips@providenceri.gov.