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‘Blame us’: Bridgeport cops ready to take blame on new law for ATVs, dirt bikes

BRIDGEPORT — City police are ready to take the blame if an ATV or dirt bike rider is unhappy at being unable to buy fuel at a local gas station.

The city has made it illegal to sell gas to them unless the vehicles are registered, with fines up to $250 for offending businesses.

Enforcement will start next month, officials said during a press conference at an East Main Street gas station Friday.

Police said they’ll hand out signs and stickers to every gas station so riders of the vehicles, which are illegal to use on public streets and sidewalks, won’t have an issue.

“We want the gas station owners to blame us,” Lt. Manuel Cotto said. “We do not want any conflict between gas station owners and the customers.”

Acting Police Chief Rebeca Garcia, a supporter of the law, said she hopes other communities will follow suit. Similar laws are on the books in New Haven and Hamden.

“Bridgeport is not the first, and I certainly hope that we are not the last city that will impose such an ordinance,” she said.

The acting chief said police would police would try to educate gas station owners first through community policing efforts, with fines as a last resort.

Cotto said cops were working on putting together a town hall event to answer questions about the new law, which exempts bikes mounted on trailers and all-terrain vehicles that have attached snowplows during mid-November through mid-April.

The rule was proposed earlier this year by City Councilwoman Maria Pereira and her council partner, Michele Small, and passed by the legislative…

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