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Columbus City Council Ordinance Aims To Curb Reckless ATV, Dirt Bike Driving

Stephannie Stokes
Riders with ATL Bike Life ride on a street in Atlanta.

The Columbus City Council will vote on an ordinance Monday night to curb reckless driving of ATVs and dirt bikes in city streets and parks.

Drivers of all-purpose vehicles and off-highway motorcycles would face a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to $1,000 if they operate their rides recklessly. The ordinance would include all-terrain vehicles, mini-bikes and dirt bikes.

Council member Mitchell Brown said at a press conference last week the reckless operation of these vehicles has led to havoc and even destruction of public parks.

"We believe these penalties will be another tool for law enforcement to discourage the dangerous behavior that we've seen before there is a loss of life," Brown said.

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant said at the press conference that while the police are currently addressing the rise in gun violence in the city, they also must address the issue of reckless ATV and dirt bike driving.

"It's not just a Columbus issue, it's not just an Ohio issue, it's occurring across the nation in many cities and many states," Bryant said. "This reckless behavior displayed by these individuals is more than a noise issue. It's more than a nuisance. It's a quality of life issue."

Brown said the council has received dozens of email and the Columbus Police has gotten over 700 calls related to the issue, leading to the proposed ordinance.

Michael Lee joined WOSU in 2021, but was previously an intern at the station in 2018. He is a graduate from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism where he obtained his master's degree, and an alumnus of Ohio State University. Michael has previously worked as an intern at the Columbus Dispatch and most recently, the Chicago Sun-Times.