The Dangers of ATVs on City Streets

All-terrain vehicles, often referred to by the acronym of ATV, are thrilling and fun, but can also be very dangerous. They become even more dangerous when children drive adult-sized vehicles, or when more than one passenger rides on an ATV built for a single rider.  Children under 16 accounted for the third-highest percentage of ATV-related deaths by age group; almost 50 percent of this group were children under 12.

ATVs Should Never be Operated on Paved Roads

It is extremely dangerous to operate ATVs on paved roads intended for vehicles; they are simply not designed for that purpose.  Because ATVs can be unwieldy on paved surfaces, the risk of collision with a car, truck, or other vehicle is significantly higher.  The risk of tip-over is also dramatically increased.  Even if a locality allows ATVs on paved roads, it is strongly recommended that these all-terrain vehicles NOT be driven on the street.

Operating dirt bikes and ATVs on City Streets is all the more dangerous due to the City’s congestion. But in March of 2023, and in South Ozone Park, Queens, an unruly mob of dirt bikes, ATVs and other “off-road” vehicles were observed disobeying traffic rules, and creating a wild and dangerous scene in Queens. The invasion of illegal dirt bikes and ATVs on South Queens streets have put a chokehold on rush hour traffic. A local business owner interviewed by newscasters was quoted as saying, “Too reckless, too dangerous, this is not a place for stuff like that, you know what I mean.”

Drivers were left with no choice but to sit and watch the convoy of bikers on Rockaway Boulevard as they weaved in and out of traffic popping wheelies. Another eyewitness exclaimed, “They have no regards for the driving law, accident, other people pay the price.” At one point, the dozens of four wheelers and dirt bikes converged on a Mobil Station. An eyewitness says he was almost hit while walking to work. “Everyone could get scared if you see them in the road, they’re coming towards you, they’re not stopping at the red lights, it’s quite risky,” he said.

“I saw the cops, so I guess they was chasing them to get them out of the neighborhood,” another eyewitness Rafina R. said. But unfortunately, t’s a sight many New Yorkers have become accustomed to when the weather warms up. “They weren’t just passing by straight ahead they were like interfering with traffic, there was a lot of honking going on, definitely you don’t want to have that on the road,” eyewitness M.K. said.

The NYPD told a reporter that they continue to aggressively rid city streets of illegal dirt bikes, but they strongly urge people to call 911 if they see a large group like the one Friday night, so those groups can be tracked.