Off-road vehicles are to be off-limits in Poughkeepsie

Bikes and ATVs on Pershing Avenue

POUGHKEEPSIE – Mayor Rob Rolison and the common council are preparing legislation that is intended to curtail the use of off-road motorcycles and ATVs on city streets and parks.  Rolison has sent the proposed law to the council this week.

Before drafting any legislation, the mayor looked at what other communities have done.

“We looked at Schenectady, we are looking at Buffalo for their local law, the City of Albany, because they are larger communities, where the problem is obviously worse, but there are innovative ways to identify and take these individuals off the road without putting anyone at risk by chasing them down. We just can’t do that,” he said.

Bike on Main Street


The Poughkeepsie proposal says that “The operators of these vehicles, usually in groups, ride with abandon over many parts of the City, including within city parks, with no regard to traffic laws, their own well-being, or the safety of bystanders. Additionally, such off-road vehicles create considerable noise and disturb the peaceful enjoyment of residents and visitors.”


The proposed local law allows the police to impound any dirt bikes and ATVs operating on public highways and in public parks.  It also forbids the operation of these vehicles on private property without the express consent of the owner or occupant of such property. 


If caught, the vehicles can be impounded by the police. The titled owner will be required to show proof of ownership and pay a $2,000 redemption fee before getting the vehicle back. The owner also faces a $250 fine, 15 days in jail, or both. If the owner fails to pay the redemption fee, the vehicle will be destroyed.

Rolison acknowledged that his office, the police department, and council members have been besieged by complaints from residents and people who work in the city. A paramedic was run off the road on Pershing Avenue when leaving work earlier this week. “I see it every single day,” said Rolison. The administration is also seeking the public’s help in identifying the illegal activity. Rolison said that members of the community are encouraged to catch the behavior on video and turn it over to the police. Information can also be provided anonymously by calling the police tip line at 845-451-7577.

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