State representative introduces legislation to send illegal ATV riders to jail

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — After the city of Providence unveiled a new community response team to curb illegal ATV riding, a Rhode Island state representative is reintroducing legislation that would send illegal ATV riders to jail. 

“I think it’s time that we send a strong message to these road terrorists,” Charlene Lima said.

ATVs and dirt bikes have been in the streets of downtown, and Lima said they’ve stopped traffic, nearly hit pedestrians, and have even assaulted drivers.

“I’ve seen them like, at the lights doing wheelies in the middle of the road doing crazy stuff. They’re dangerous, they’re pretty dangerous,” Seyf, a driver in downtown Providence told ABC 6 News.

This comes just days after Mayor Brett Smiley announced a task force to combat the sale, storage, and operation of these illegal vehicles. 

Lima called these people dangerous, saying they are instilling fear in our community.

“These are not kids who are just clowning around acting up, they have gone so far as to drag a woman out of her car and beat her,” Lima added.

Residents in downtown Providence have witnessed some of these operators.

“We also saw several of them a couple of weeks ago back on the green space where the fane building was supposed to go, there wasn’t any interaction with them, but you could tell the pedestrians were a little bit concerned about the noise and whether they were going to come closer to them,” Providence resident Mark Healey said.

ABC 6 asked those in downtown if they support these people being arrested and put in jail for a 30-day sentence.

“It would be safer for us and for them, too. I mean, cause that is a moron move and it does mess it up for everyone else. So, yeah,” Sonia Claudio said.

“Like a very serious fine and then maybe a second offense would be something else,” Annemaree Healey, who lives in downtown Providence, said.

But the punishment would increase for multiple time offenders. 

Those arrested the first time would spend 30 days in jail, and complete 150 hours of community service after. Repeat offenders would be sentenced to 6 months in jail, with 250 hours of community service.

“If you engage in this type of road terrorism, you will be going to jail, that’’ going to be the message. I’m tired of these lenient judges and prosecutors letting these people back out on the street,” said Lima.

The next steps for this bill is a hearing in committee

Categories: News, Rhode Island