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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Death puts focus on illegal ATV use

By Maya Rajamani
Posted

The May 24 death of Yonkers resident Anthony Perez — who died as his Yamaha all-terrain vehicle (ATV) flipped over when he lost control on Broadway — has brought a perennial problem with ATV use in Van Cortlandt Park to the forefront. 

Mr. Perez was driving his ATV on Broadway near 231st Street when he sought to overtake a 2013 Ford Suburban and make a turn into an underground parking garage. The two vehicles collided, sending Mr. Perez’ ATV into a parked vehicle, at which point he was thrown from the ATV. 

His death led to a somber discussion at a Community Board (CB) 8 Parks and Recreation Committee meeting on May 28 about the dangers of ATV use in areas where they are not permitted. 

“This is a problem that has existed for a while and given the death, it’s particularly acute now,” Parks and Recreation Committee Chairman Bob Bender said in a phone call after the meeting.  He added he has frequently seen ATVs in Vannie.

The problem has gone underreported. 

Officer Mindy Ramos of the 50th Precinct said the May 24 accident was the first the precinct has been made aware of, although the  same Saturday Mr. Perez was killed, the precinct received a report of a dozen or more ATV bikes entering the Bronx from Yonkers. Officer Ramos said that, too, was the first report of its kind in the precinct.  

“If people are seeing it, they’re not calling it in,” she said. 

While riding ATVs in the parks and on public roads is illegal in New York City, drivers continue to use recreational ATVs in Vannie. Christina Taylor, executive director of the Friends of Van Cortlandt Park, said she has frequently seen ATVs speeding through the park since she started working with FVCP in 2000. 

Though she has reported the drivers to the Parks Enforcement Patrol and 3-1-1 in the past, she says the difficulty lies in catching drivers, who are long gone soon after she makes the calls.

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