Ward Two New Bedford City Councilor Maria Giesta is the first to file a motion relative to the growing problem of illegal ATV and dirt bike abuse on the city's streets.

The. New Bedford City COuncil is set to discuss the issue of illegal ATV/dirt bike use.
Barry Richard/Townsquare Media

Roving gangs of illegal riders have reportedly taunted police, fire, and EMT personnel by driving hazardously through neighborhoods, terrorizing some motorists as they go. It's not a new problem, but it re-surfaces each spring as the weather begins to warm up.

Greg Desrosiers/TSM - New Bedford mayoral candidate Maria Giesta at her campaign kickoff event in February.
Greg Desrosiers/Townsquare Media

Giesta said the illegal ATV and dirt bike riders are "intimidating" and can be "very scary" to some, particularly older drivers. She said the activity is "clearly not allowed on city streets, and that's what we need to focus on."

"We've been lucky so far that no one has been seriously hurt," she said.

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WBSM 1420 via YouTube

Giesta's motion seeks to call Police Chief Paul Oliveira before the council's ordinance committee to discuss ways to remedy the situation. She hopes an ordinance can be drafted sooner rather than later to assist the police in combating the problem, though she admits the upcoming budget process could delay action on her motion for a while.

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Giesta is asking residents to report any information they may have about the riders, such as where they store their ATVs and dirt bikes. She also has asked State Representative Chris Hendricks to explore possible legislative solutions to the problem that plagues most Massachusetts municipalities.

Taunton and Boston have already enacted ordinances they hope will curtail illegal ATV and dirt bike activities within their borders. Springfield, Holyoke, and Chicopee have announced a cooperative effort to combat the problem, and Fall River is currently drafting an ordinance.

Giesta's motion has been submitted for consideration at Thursday's city council meeting and will likely be referred to the Committee on Ordinances chaired by Ward Three Councilor Hugh Dunn.

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