Illegal ATV riding spreading 'sense of lawlessness'

"You've got these clowns putting on stunt shows, which is very dangerous; it can become intimidating and it's not permissible by law."

Jefferson Parish Council Chair Chris Roberts says he's fed up with illegal all-terrain vehicles on roadways and highways on the West Bank.

"Recently some of them have been crossing the Crescent City Connection Bridge, weaving in and out of traffic and pulling stunts and I just think it creates a sense of lawlessness that is not what we're trying to portray," Roberts said.

Roberts says Jefferson Parish isn't seeing a lot of off-road vehicles on streets, but things are getting worse.

"If we turn a blind eye to this then are we sending an impression to those that are breaking the law that we're going to turn a blind eye to other things and I just think there needs to be a more aggressive approach," he said.

Drivers have complained to WWL-TV about traffic being blocked up by ATVs. It can be a nuisance and it can also be dangerous. Last month, an ATV ride turned deadly for one man on Chef Menteur Highway.

The rider sideswiped a car, was ejected and died. Louisiana State Police Spokeswoman Melissa Matey says if people don't stop riding four wheelers and dirt bikes on the street and interstate, there could be more crashes and possibly more deaths.

"You can be killed or you can be seriously injured. The chances of you being ejected is very high because there are no seatbelts," Matey said. "It's not only dangerous for the people that are on those all-terrain vehicles, but it's also dangerous for the motoring public."

Matey says vehicles allowed on the roadways must be registered with the state and equipped with lights, seatbelts and other safety features. The vehicles allowed to drive on streets and interstates are the only vehicles Chris Roberts wants to see there. 

"You've got these clowns putting on stunt shows, which is very dangerous; it can become intimidating and it's not permissible by law," Roberts said. "It goes to the basis of if we're going to have a civilized society, these are things we have to enforce. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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