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PA Senate approves bill that would give police new tools to crack down on illegal dirt bikes and ATVs

Senate Bill 1183 would allow police to sell or destroy any vehicles seized by law enforcement in an effort to keep them from illegally operating on public roads.
Credit: Lancaster Police

HARRISBURG, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Senate on Friday approved proposed legislation that would give police new tools to crack down on the illegal operation of dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles on public roads, according to the bill's author.

Senate Bill 1183 provides for the seizure, forfeiture and disposal of dirt bikes and ATVs operated illegally on public roadways, subject to existing state forfeiture law. The bill would provide local police with a variety of disposal options, including permission to sell the vehicles or destroy them. 

The bill passed by a margin of 49-1, according to State Sen. Pat Browne (R-Lehigh).

The bill comes in response to the rise of illegal operation of dirt bikes and ATVs on the Commonwealth’s roadways, often by large groups of riders who engage in speeding and reckless driving, Browne said. 

These activities pose an extreme danger to motorists and pedestrians and a grave threat to public safety, he added.

“Through the passage of this legislation, the State Senate is taking aggressive action to combat the growing danger illegal dirt bike and ATV usage is presenting on our roadways,” Browne said. “We have seen countless incidences of property being destroyed, injuries to pedestrians and the tragic loss of life of innocent bystanders due to these reckless actions. I want to thank my colleagues in the Senate for their support to give law enforcement the tools necessary to keep these vehicles off the streets.”

As amended, the bill applies to boroughs and cities of the first, second, second A and third class. Cities covered by the bill include Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York, Browne said.

The current penalty for a violation is a summary offense, which is not sufficient to keep these recreational vehicles off public roadways.

The bill will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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