Caught on video: Dirt bike riders swarm the streets; advocates say they need designated space

ATLANTA - Caught on video over the weekend: dirt bike and ATV riders ignoring the law. In the video you can see them running red lights, not wearing helmets and without visible tags.

A frustrated driver posted it to social media where it went viral.

While looking at the video, advocate Robby Caban said she didn’t see anything wrong with what they were doing.

“It looks like a lot of motorcycles,” she said.

The group of riders called ATL Bike Life – and other groups like it – don’t have a designated place to ride. On a change.org petitionCaban is asking the city to help them get a park.

“When you have an option, now you have some leverage,” Caban said. “If you want to use this park, you have to register this bike, you have to have ID, you have to wear a helmet, maybe you have to have a muffler that is removable."

Atlanta Ctiy Councilmember Felicia Moore’s proposal amended city code. The change allows parameters where someone could build a park.  

“That’s part of the answer. I don’t think that’s the total answer,” Councilmember Moore said. "There are some, I believe, who are not necessarily park-type people, they want to ride on the roads.”

But Moore said riding on the roads legally – may never be a viable option.

“People are panicked when they’re trying to drive, they are frustrated when they can’t get where they need to go," she said. "I’ve heard of people that have been struck by them. And we’ve had plenty of instances where they’ve been injured or killed. Or innocent bystanders have been hurt, when people have been trying to pursue them.”

But Caban said that’s not the intent.

“We have this opportunity of young urban youth doing something positive and the city has the opportunity to embrace this, and we’re the ones dropping the ball,” she said.

She said ATL Bike Life also spear-headed Easter egg hunts and book-bag drives. When 11Alive’s Deborah Tuff asked Caban if the riders were willing to cooperate with city laws to get what they wanted, she said this: “See that’s the beautiful thing about the park. I think we’re looking at in a way that’s not productive.”

Until that happens? “I think the lack of action has lead us here. The lack of planning has lead us here.  You’ve exacerbated a situation by demonizing folks, or criminalizing folks, in the media only showing the negative, not having dialogue with your full constituency, and now you’ve made it worse,” said Caban, while praising Councilmember Moore’s efforts to amend city code.

In a YouTube music video, ATL Bike Life promotes themselves as nonviolent in a song called “Bikes Up, Guns Down.”

“That sounds good and it’s a great argument,” Councilmember Moore said, 'but it’s not an argument for you putting people’s safety at risk when you are on the streets.”

Councilmember Moore also added a reason Atlanta police won’t chase them – because it could put the public’s safety at risk. She said the department is weighing other options for enforcement.

“Catching them and confiscating the bikes when they are unloading, catching them at a gas station, catching them when they are disabled, but there are a lot of them,” she admitted.

Watch “Bikes Up, Guns Down” below. Can’t see it on mobile? Click here.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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