During fair weather days, for many years, the safety of Philadelphians of all ages out on the street is put in jeopardy by clusters of off-road vehicles. The Philadelphia Police Department currently maintains a no-chase policy against these motorists, making them virtually immune from prosecution because the law cannot reach them. Recent deaths have highlighted how the careless drivers who operate these vehicles in the City of Philadelphia are to the public, and to themselves.
Remove Illegal Off-Road Vehicles From Philadelphia's Streets
During fair weather days, for many years, the safety of Philadelphians of all ages out on the street is put in jeopardy by clusters of off-road vehicles. The Philadelphia Police Department currently maintains a no-chase policy against these motorists, making them virtually immune from prosecution because the law cannot reach them. Recent deaths within Philadelphia have highlighted how dangerous the careless drivers who operate these vehicles in the City of Philadelphia are to the public, and to themselves. These operators by and large have expressed zero concern for the public's safety or their own.
[Commonwealth of Pennsylvania's] own published documents submit that ATV's are inherently impossible to be used virtually everywhere in Philadelphia: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/forestry/atv/ATVBrochure.pdf
Further, the Commonwealth submits where Law Enforcement Officers have jurisdiction:
[editor: Corrected for document ownership]
ENFORCEMENT All law enforcement officers in the state, including local and state police, are authorized to enforce the Snowmobile/ATV Law. In general:
• State forest and state park lands – DCNR Rangers and other state forest officers
• State game lands – Wildlife Conservation Officers and Deputy WCOs
• Municipal and state roadways – municipal and state police
• Private property – municipal and state police
Current PPD policy is to not give chase. While understandable, it's obvious that policy will be excepted if, for instance:
A) The ATV operator is using the ATV to escape from a heinous crime (such as shooting a police officer)
B) The ATV operator is seen carrying a loaded firearm.
To not make an exception for that policy would mean ANYONE could commit any type of crime and escape law enforcement by mounting an ATV.
Further: Auctions are often hotspots where ATV enthusiasts in Philadelphia acquire these vehicles. It is more appropriate to dispose of confiscated vehicles in a fashion that makes it difficult to re-acquiring the vehicles. For instance, pouring chemicals into the fuel supply to seize the motor, then turning the vehicle over to salvage operators for vehicles unclaimed at auction. Operator fines should be set to a solitary amount for all violators: the maximum, and impounding should be cut to the shortest convenient time window allowable by Commonwealth law.
A Philadelphia replete with high speed off-road vehicles zipping around its streets is a Philadelphia that displays a semblance of lawlessness, and an ambivalence to do anything about it, even though the tools for enforcement exist. The ambivalence is so great that on some evenings, South Broad Street close to City Hall itself is an attraction point for ATV and dirt bike operators.
The times call for creativity in enforcement and encouraging operators to follow the law.
Citizens who raise this complaint are often met with "we can't chase" as the response. This is not an acceptable answer.