NEW YORK (WABC) -- Calls are growing to increase fines on illegal dirt bikes and ATVs on the streets of New York City, and on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio joined members of the NYPD and Department of Sanitation to crush seized vehicles on Staten Island.
"We want to send a message today that these dirt bikes do not belong in New York City," de Blasio said. "It's against the law, period."
The mayor warned anyone owning an ATV or dirt bike in the Big Apple to beware, as two large bulldozers rolled over about 50 bikes seized by police over the last few months.
"Everyone look, we mean business," de Blasio said. "I want to be very clear. Anyone out there has an illegal dirt bike, don't even think about it because the NYPD will find it and will crush it. It's as simple as that. We're not playing games."
Police seized and crushed about 500 bikes in 2020, but this year, it's going to be closer to 3,000.
A lot of the bikes are stolen, but even if you can prove ownership, it's illegal to ride a dirt bike in New York City.
It's been a growing problem all over the city, but mostly in Manhattan and the Bronx, and they've led to countless accidents and even deaths.
Officials say one of the reason they've grown so much in popularity is social media and people showing off.
"It seems like that's what really is fueling this thing," NYPD Deputy Commissioner Robert Martinez said. "Because everyone wants to out-do the next person with the ability to pull a wheelie for a mile or do a trick."
The mayor and NYPD want New Yorkers to call police with any tips, and they say their crackdown is starting to work.
The minimum fine is $500 dollars and the loss of the bike.
Officials say eight people have died in dirt bike or off road vehicle incidents in the first quarter of this year, and at least 350 were injured during the same time period.
Last months, 23 members of the New York City Council said they want the mayor to sign an executive order raising penalties for offenders.
They also want stricter enforcement of rules against dirt bikes and ATVs.
"(We) implore you, as an exercise of executive power, to increase the maximum fines for unlawful dirt bike/ATV use and street racing, and to revise NYPD enforcement strategies so that they are more effective in quelling this crisis," the council members say in a letter.
The proposed law is being named after a 4-year-old Queens boy who was struck and left in critical condition by a hit-and-run dirt bike rider earlier this summer.
Jonathan's Law would increase fines by 50% to $750 for a first offense and $1,500 for all additional offenses.