The teenager was killed by a reckless motorcycle. What are we going to do about it? – Morning call
Anyone naive about the dangers posed by bikers racing the streets of Alentown should think about what happened in Philadelphia this week.
A teenager with big dreams ran into a speeding biker who flaunted and locked a cart on Sunday night. According to police, 17-year-old Jesus Gomez Rosario was skating when he was hit. He died Tuesday.
The pause that took his life escaped and remains at large.
I hope that if he is caught, he will be severely punished.
And I hope Rosary’s death is a wake-up call for cities like Allentown to take bolder action against the plague of motorcycles and ATVs that has caused hundreds of calls to police this year.
Allentown must follow the example of Reading, who has recently expanded his efforts. Last week, local officials sent 56 motorcycles and ATVs to a landfill, where they were crushed so that they would never be dangerous to ride again.
Alentovna police are considering such a policy, according to testimony in Fr. state legislative hearings this month.
Mayor Matt Turk told me on Friday that he supported the idea. He said the city is considering legal options for confiscating and destroying bicycles. But he believes the best approach is for the state to pass a law that allows it to be done everywhere.
According to Turk, these actions will be stronger if they are taken at the state level. He said State Sen. Pat Brown, R-Lehigh, is working on it.
This plan needs to be implemented as soon as possible so that there are no further casualties.
Rosario was junior. He loved to play the guitar and worked with his father as “DJ Chu” on a Spanish radio station, This was reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer. He dreamed of becoming a pilot.
In Alentown and other cities, packs of motorcycles and ATVs ride without paying attention to traffic rules. They go wrong on one-way streets. They ignore stop signs and red lights. Go on the sidewalks.
It was only a matter of time before someone was killed.
Last year, Reading passed a number of laws to toughen the issue. This led to defeat threatening vehicleswhich will be held quarterly.
ATVs are prohibited from driving on city streets, as are most motorcycles. Those dirty bikes that are legal, depending on their engine capacity, need to be registered and insured.
Police in some cities, including Alentovna, have a policy of not prosecuting racers because of the danger it may pose to the public. Police in Reading prosecute riders if conditions permit, Sergeant. Mel Fegeli told me on Friday.
“We’re not just going to let these guys ride,” he said.
The chase sometimes ends with the riders smashing their bikes and running away. Police confiscate vehicles and send a certified letter to the owner if the vehicle is registered with the state.
However, they are rarely registered. Nine out of 10 – no. Those with registrations were usually stolen, Fegeli said.
Owners who receive letters can claim their vehicles by showing title deeds.
“People came and said they owned them, but they couldn’t provide any documents,” Fegeli said.
If bicycles are not in demand, they are destroyed. Gas, oil and other liquids are merged before grinding to comply with environmental regulations.
Residents deserve to know that the authorities are serious about the problem of motorcycles, said Fegeli. He described the situation as “out of control”.
“We needed to send a message,” Fegeli told me. “We know it’s a problem and we’re not afraid to do anything about it.”
There is an appeal process, but no one has used it, he said.
Destroying bikes is a better plan than selling them. If they were sold, they could be bought by the same people and become the same problem.
In March, officials from Allentown, Bethlehem, Whitehall, South Whitehall, Salisbury, Lehigh County and the state announced that an operational group was set up look at new ways to stop what Turk called “rodeo on motorcycles”.
Fines are now usually minimal, Allentown Police Chief Charles Rocco told me in March.
Tougher punishments are needed. But that alone will not be enough to hold back.
Smoothing a bicycle for which someone has paid thousands of dollars will send the biggest message that Alentovna officials are trying to protect their streets and their citizens.
Morning Call columnist Paul Musik can be reached at 610-820-6582 or firstname.lastname@example.org