NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The NYPD continues to crack down on illegal dirt bikes and ATVs, with the department announcing Tuesday that it has seized at least 565 in the past three months.
The urgent need was highlighted by a recent incident in which a 4-year-old boy was struck by a dirt bike and remains in critical condition.
Despite the progress the NYPD says it's making, the danger from the illegal vehicles remain.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea pleaded for anyone with videos or pictures of dirt bikes in Flushing Meadow Park, where the boy was struck, to come forward.
"There's far too many still out there, and anyone with information, where you are seeing them stored, meet up or anything else, give us a call," Shea said on NY1.
Late last week, City Councilman Mark Gjonaj sponsored new legislation to dramatically increase fines and penalties for ATV and dirt bike operators.
In the first quarter of 2021, city officials say there were eight deaths and more than 350 injuries caused by people operating vehicles illegally on streets and sidewalks.
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"This chaos must end," Gjonaj said. "These motorcycles are endangering not only pedestrians and other motorists, but are creating havoc and lawlessness in New York City."
Despite the fact that operating dirt bikes is already illegal, the city is currently experiencing a dramatic increase in dangerous dirt bike riding and auto-drag racing.
Gjonaj says the current penalty structure isn't enough of a deterrent for those who seek to turn local communities into life-threatening speedways.
Currently, the fine for operating dirt bikes and all-terrain vehicles on city roadways is $500 for first offense and $1,000 for additional offense.
The new legislation would increase fines to $750 for the first offense and $1,500 for all additional offenses,
The NYPD announced earlier this year that it was offering cash rewards for the public's help during a crackdown on illegal motorcycles and ATVs on city streets.
Residents who report where illegal vehicles are being stored could collect $100 per motorbike seized.
Dirt bikes and ATVs cannot be registered as street-legal motor vehicles because they lack safety equipment like brake lights, turn signals and mirrors.
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Chief of Department Rodney Harrison issued a warning to those who operate them.
"They are illegal and dangerous," he said. "Don't ride them. If you do, you are endangering yourself and others."
Police say they rarely initiate pursuits because of the potential danger to officers and the public, but they will confiscate motorbikes when they are parked in public.
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