ATVs & Dirt Bikes Running Wild - Can anything be Done?

I don’t know if Great Debates is the proper place for this so feel free to move, Mods.

Unlicensed quads and dirt bikes tearing up and down city street has become the norm in many areas. Locally, I watched a pack of 15-20 (a small group compared to what larger cities are seeing) tearing down the main thorofare at night with no lights and completely ignoring traffic signals and stop signs. One guy, while doing a wheelie on his bike, went up onto the sidewalk, sending pedestrians scrambling. This was in a commercial area with shops and restaurants.

Apparently, the police are forbidden to chase due to the danger presented to the public. Is there a jurisdiction anywhere that has successfully dealt with this? It like Mad Max, only without any good guys.

First I’ve heard of it, although that doesn’t mean much. I certainly haven’t heard of it in my local area (San Francisco bay area). Are these places that are close to outdoor recreation areas where these vehicles would normally be used?

Kind of depends of the area. What country, state, city would this be in?

It’s been a problem for years and yes the police could do stuff about it but it seems like they don’t have any desire to. They could take video and start using that video to find and arrest these fools.

I’m in midstate PA and the dirtbike/quad squad are a constant irritant. I guess they can go through yards and stuff to escape the police. Whenever I see one with a helmetless driver I tend to guiltily hope they’re get in an accident.

Sorry. This is Atlantic City, New Jersey and I know is a big problem in Philadelphia. Its not that the cops don’t care or are unmotivated, its that they are forbidden by policy to pursue for motor vehicle violations (at least in NJ).that don’t create a substantial risk of death or serious injury. The chances of catching a dirt bike without somebody getting hurt is pretty slim. Identifying the drivers isn’t particularly easy due to helmets, masks and this being mostly a night time activity.

There isn’t anywhere to ride these things legally and I don’t know that it would matter if there were.

Big problem in the city of Detroit, but then again so is drag racing. Believe the cops chased a kid on an ATV a couple of years ago and the kid wrecked and died. Lots of public outrage so the police backed off significantly.

As was mentioned above, this is a big problem in Philly. It is illegal to ride these vehicles in the city. That doesn’t seem to have made any difference. Last time I was in center city, we saw a group of 10 to 15 of them.

I’ve seen this in Cleveland a few times. Once a bunch of older youths were riding those pocket motorcycles that are knee high. You couldn’t even see the rider’s heads over parked cars as they came zooming out of a side street.

It’s a problem in DC and there is documentary about Baltimore’s riders. Police don’t chase them because that can lead to serious accidents, people in DC have been seriously hurt by the riders.

Because it would make more sense about them owning such things. A lot of city dwellers have dirt bikes and ATVs, they put them on trailers to go out into the country so they can ride them off-road. If you tell me that people buy these things only so they can do this kind of illegal city riding, it just doesn’t make much sense. It seems more likely that they sometimes get fed up having to drive all that way and just take them out for a “harmless” spin in the city, and things devolve from there. Or, the parents own the things, intending only to use them properly, and their teen-to-twenties kids sneak them out and go joy-riding.

It doesn’t make much sense but there you have it. Why go out into the woods (trailer and tow vehicle required) when city streets are right where you live? There is no downside ripping through traffic and intimidating other drivers and pedestrians is fun!

I’m just popping in to express complete surprise by this. It appears to be a widespread issue, and I had no idea it was even a thing.

Me either, maybe because where I live on the west coast you don’t have to go that far to find legal off-roading.

Urban motorcycling gets a little pop culture glamorization.

Where I live, there are plenty of places to easily go off-roading, so there are not a lot of dirt bikes and quads on the streets in town. However, there are a few homemade mopeds (ordinary bicycles with very small add-on engines) being used as drug-delivery vehicles. They whiz around at top speed ignoring traffic signals and are so small and light that they can disappear extremely easily. Riders will head through back yards or carry them up a flight of steps to evade the police.

Part of the appeal of riding through the city is the havoc it creates. It’s not like people would go somewhere else if they could, disrupting people’s lives and scaring people is part of their fun.

“ A 23-year-old woman was struck last week in a crosswalk on Alabama Avenue SE by the rider of dirt bike who “laughed, hopped on another bike and sped off,” WJLA reported. It’s not known if she’ll be able to walk again, according to her family.”

Where I live dirt bike riders ride on the roads until a cop tries to pull them over, then they shoot off into the woods or through farmer’s fields.

They pretty much never get caught.

Neck-level piano wire comes to mind.

Modnote: this is quite inappropriate and advocating something illegal. Do not do this again.

Nope, most (if not all) of the ones near me are owned by people who did not buy them to take them to the country on trailers - especially since ATVs are only legal in NYS on your own property unless you have insurance and even with insurance they are not permitted on public streets. Since none of the ones I’ve seen have the required license plates, I doubt they have insurance. Few NYC residents own enough property either in the city or elsewhere to drive an ATV. And it’s definitely not a matter of people getting fed up about driving all that way - if I saw one or two people riding them, maybe. Not in groups of 5-15 that I usually see.

The only explanation I can see actually is that they are much less expensive than buying a car and the riders don’t care about legality.