PA 16-208—sSB 463

Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PENALTY FOR VIOLATIONS OF A MUNICIPAL ORDINANCE CONCERNING THE OPERATION OF A DIRT BIKE, ALL-TERRAIN VEHICLE OR MINI-MOTORCYCLE

SUMMARY: This act adds mini-motorcycles to the list of motorized vehicles municipalities may regulate by ordinance. Under the act, municipalities may regulate the operation and use of mini-motorcycles on public property and impose penalties for their improper use up to the same limits applicable to dirt bike, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), and snowmobile ordinance violations (see BACKGROUND).

Under the act, municipal officers and employees may issue citations without first providing a written warning to individuals who violate a mini-motorcycle ordinance. By law, the same is true for citations concerning a dirt bike or ATV ordinance.

The act also authorizes municipalities with 20,000 or more people to enforce ordinances concerning mini-motorcycle, dirt bike, or ATV operation by confiscating a vehicle used to violate them. The act (1) establishes protections for lienholders and innocent owners and (2) requires municipalities to sell confiscated vehicles at public auction.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2016

“MINI-MOTORCYCLE” DEFINITION

The act defines mini-motorcycle the same way as an existing law prohibiting its operation on highways and public sidewalks. Under the law, a “mini-motorcycle” is a vehicle that (1) has no more than three wheels in contact with the ground; (2) has a manufactured seat height of less than 26 inches, measured at the lowest point on top of the seat cushion without the rider; and (3) is propelled by an engine having a piston displacement of less than 50 cubic centimeters (CGS 14-289j).

CONFISCATED MINI-MOTORCYCLES, DIRT BIKES, OR ATVS

Under the act, a municipality with a population of 20,000 or more that adopts an ordinance regulating mini-motorcycle, dirt bike, or ATV use may include provisions providing for the seizure and forfeiture of these vehicles. If a municipality confiscates a mini-motorcycle, dirt bike, or ATV used to violate an ordinance, it must sell it at a municipally conducted public auction. The sale proceeds must be paid to the municipal treasurer for deposit into the municipality's general fund.

The act's forfeiture provisions are subject to any bona fide lien, lease, or security interest (including a lien for towing and storing a vehicle). The act protects an owner or lienholder's interest when forfeiture is due to someone else's act or omission if the owner or lienholder did not know, and could not have reasonably known, that the mini-motorcycle, dirt bike, or ATV was used or was intended to be used in violation of a municipal ordinance.

BACKGROUND

Regulating Dirt Bikes, ATVs, and Snowmobiles by Ordinance

By law, municipalities may adopt ordinances on the operation and use of (1) dirt bikes on public property, including hours of use, and (2) ATVs and snowmobiles, including hours and zones of use. An ordinance may set fines of up to:

1. $1,000 for a first violation,

2. $1,500 for a second violation, and

3. $2,000 for subsequent violations (CGS 14-390 & -390m).

OLR Tracking: JSB; DC; PF; bs