LaGRANGE, Ga. (WRBL) – As the new year proceeds, the LaGrange Police Department continues to encounter non-street-legal motorized vehicles operating on main roadways.

Eric Lohr, the Operational Lieutenant for the Lagrange PD, said the department responded to 41 calls regarding dirt bikes in 2021.

“We implemented a zero-tolerance policy at the beginning of 2021 as it relates to dirt bikes. We initiated several details throughout the year,” said Lohr. “Purchased a new set of tire deflation devices specifically designed to slowly deflate the tires on a dirt bike so to reduce the risk of injury and those efforts.”

The number of arrests due to dirt bikes/ATV’s operating on public roadways more than doubled last year in comparison to the year before. In 2020, there were 12 arrests and in 2021, there were 28 arrests.

The department has invested in mechanical spikes that were designed specifically for dirt bikes and can be deployed remotely from a distance to deflate dirt bike tires.

“The challenge that we have with a lot of these dirt bikes when they us is they’ll then go off the roadway which prohibits our ability to apprehend them,” said Lohr.

According to Lohr, LaGrange PD is currently implementing the dirt bike city ordinance that was established in 2020. The rider and the owner of the non-street-legal vehicle are fined at least $500 if they are caught by police.

Officers are also using the cameras within the city to identify those who are violating the ordinance and once the dirt bike and rider are identified, the bike will be impounded, and the owner will be fined.

“We’re concerned with the nuisance that these folks on the dirt bikes are causing. Obviously if they’re driving reckless on the roadway especially when some of these folks that are riding these dirt bikes are teenagers or young adults,” said Lohr. “They may not be trained in riding a dirt bike and when they get out here, if they see us and then they flee from us. We have to weigh the desire of the law enforcement agency and the community to get these bikes off the road with the safety of not only the individuals on the bike but safety of the rest of the motoring public.”