ATV riders causing safety concerns in Albany


    ALBANY, N.Y. (WRGB) - "They're coming all hours of the day and night," said Daniel Atkins, Lark Street BID Chairman.

    ATVs are terrorizing downtown Albany, according to local business owners and police.

    "It's a very dangerous problem, it's a safety problem," said Albany police Chief Eric Hawkins.

    "They go on the sidewalks, they definitely come very close to pedestrians often, and cars in the intersections," added Atkins.

    Hawkins says there have been multiple accidents, some involving serious injuries.

    He says even one of his officers was hit.

    "The wheel of the ATV, the front wheels, actually hit officer in the chest," he said.

    Hawkins says police are struggling with how to address the issue, "Because it's very unsafe to chase or pursue these ATVs there are neighborhoods. It adds to the instability of our roads, it adds to the danger."

    Hawkins says the drivers are also usually wearing masks.

    He says police have had to get creative in catching them, and they've started using plain clothes officers in unmarked cars.

    "And we're following at a distance, these ATVs, and we wait until they dismount the ATVs and then will approach and address them," Hawkins explained.

    The Chief says they're also in the process of getting two drones through a grant, and he says the technology will be a big help.

    "If we can get an aerial view, and we can see exactly where they are driving these ATVs and where they're storing the ATVs, then it will give us an opportunity to go in and potentially identify who owns the property, and at the very least impound the vehicles," Hawkins said.

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