by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:
ATLANTA - Residents in a southwest Atlanta neighborhood said dozens of racers on ATVs are roaring through their neighborhood at night.
A Channel 2 Action News photographer captured some of the riders in the middle of the day.
Neighbors told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri that the racers are often large groups of people racing in a park. Aside from the safety concerns, they said the noise keeps them up well into the night.
“It’s almost every night and it goes beyond, well beyond 1 a.m. and 2 a.m and it just wakes everyone up,” resident Robby Caban said.
“They’re doing all types of stunts and just really creating terror in the community. A huge amount of noise,”District 12 City Council Woman Joyce Sheperd said.
Sheperd passed legislation last summer to increase the penalties for riding ATVs on residential streets or in city parks.
“We are getting tough, we’re locking people up and by the way, it’s not just in my district, it’s all over the city of Atlanta,” Sheperd said.
The penalties now range from $250 to $1,000 dollars and up to six months in jail.
Atlanta police sent Channel 2 Action News a picture of a man they arrested over Fourth of July weekend. They said he flipped his SUV after hitting a pole on University Avenue trying to avoid police. Officers also charged him with possession of marijuana.
“We’re going to be partnering with the state and the city to really become much much tougher on these ATVs,” Sheperd said.
“We have to get up early and we have children and it's immensely disruptive,” Caban said.
Neighbors said they think speed bumps and more stop signs could help with the problem.
Atlanta police said they’ve impounded several ATVs and made another arrest Sunday. They also started a park detail in some of the neighborhoods with patrols each Sunday specifically for this type of activity.