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North Huntingdon police plan proactive approach to prohibited riders

Michael DiVittorio
| Thursday, April 18, 2013, 4:56 a.m.

North Huntingdon Township police plan to take a proactive approach in dealing with ATV and dirt bike riders in township parks.

Signs are posted in the parks informing people that motorized vehicle usage is prohibited. Violators are subject to fines ranging from $100-$200 for the first offense, and up to $1,000 for repeat infractions.

Police Chief Andrew Lisiecki told commissioners at Wednesday night's meeting that he would like to put one of the department's old Harley-Davidson motorcycles up for auction to pay for two Honda Enduro dirt bikes in order to better patrol the areas.

“It was a program that was done in the city of Pittsburgh years ago,” Lisiecki said of dirt bike park patrols. “It was pretty effective in getting the people out of the parks. The problem we have is when the officers go down there in their vehicles, (riders) just take off into the park. ... You can see on the walking trails the ruts. They're about 6-8 inches deep that are being dug into the walking trails by these ATVs.”

The chief said the bike to be auctioned is one of the department's five. It is not being used because the officer was placed into investigations instead of bike patrol.

The Enduro bikes are street legal; the average dirt bike is not.

Lisiecki said three township juveniles recently were cited for riding in the parks.

Commissioners expressed mixed opinions about the initiative.

“I'm OK with bikes if we get something out of it,” Commissioner Richard Gray said.

Commissioner Tony Martino said bikers simply will ride around police and keep moving, even with the new patrols.

Commissioners came to a general consensus, after further discussion, to have the chief move forward with the effort.

Parks and recreation director Dan Miller commended Lisiecki, and said he believes riders will get the message.

“I really think the big picture is our support from our colleagues in the media, who are all here tonight,” Miller said. “The word gets out. The dirt bike's certainly going to help. The word through the media's going to help. We have our Nixle messaging system. We have a website.”

Lisiecki said officers will go through training for motorcycles the third week of May, and will be out on park patrol in plainclothes following those sessions.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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