The Oswego Village Board voted unanimously Tuesday evening, Aug. 17, to amend a village ordinance to allow village police to seize and impound ATVs, dirt bikes and other off-road vehicles from owners found operating them on village streets.
Also under the amended ordinance, individuals found operating off-road vehicles on local streets with or without a valid driver’s license will be subject to fines if police seize and impound their vehicles.
Owners of impounded vehicles will be subject to a fine up to $500, paid to the village, in order to get their vehicles back before they can go to the towing company to retrieve it, according to the amended ordinance.
The board acted upon the recommendation of Police Chief Jeff Burgner and in response to a significant rise in the number of complaints police have received from village residents concerning ATVs and dirt bikes using local streets over the past two years. Information provided by police shows that calls jumped from 33 in 2019 to 127 in 2020 to 158 as of Aug. 11.
Burgner noted in a memo to the board that between Jan. 1, 2020 and July 31, 2020 police took 45 complaints regarding ATVs and mini-bikes, while during that same time period in 2021 the department handled 152 complaints.
“These vehicles are just not safe to be on the roadway,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s the bottom line. These are not intended to be operated on roads. If they were, they wouldn’t be prohibited.”
Burgner told board members that police will also look at additional, potential ordinance charges as necessary, such as insurance violations and any other moving violations. He noted that offenders have reportedly engaged in more dangerous behavior including disobeying traffic control devices, popping wheelies, and refusing to stop for officers - a felony offense.
After their vehicle is impounded, the offenders will be subject to a fee of up to $500, paid to the village, in order to get their vehicle back before they can go to the towing company to retrieve it.
Further violations included under the Illinois Vehicle Code may give the village the ability to produce asset forfeiture documents to serve in Kendall County Court, permanently taking the vehicle and turning it over to the village, Burgner said.
Burgner asked village residents to continue to assist police by identifying offenders when information is sought by police..
Burgner also referenced a recent accident where a 15-year-old male juvenile was injured when the dirt bike he was riding was involved in a collision with a motor vehicle at 9:18 p.m. Aug. 4 at Route 34 and Boulder Hill Pass.
Police cited the juvenile for driving without a valid license, driving an uninsured vehicle, no headlights when required, and illegal operation of an off-road motorcycle.