NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Police have arrested at least 16 people after hundreds of motorcycle, dirt bike and all-terrain vehicle riders took to the streets of South Florida as part of the annual, and illegal, “Wheels Up, Guns Down” tradition.
Riders were seen running red lights, weaving between cars and even driving against traffic in parts of Miami-Dade County.
7SkyForce HD hovered above approximately 100 riders turning eastbound at the intersection of Northwest 27th Avenue and 64th Street in Northwest Miami-Dade, just before 5:15 p.m.
Hours later, 7News cameras captured a couple of motorcyclists and ATV riders popping wheelies nearby.
Tuesday morning, Miami-Dade Police confirmed they’ve made seven felony arrests, four misdemeanor arrests and five traffic arrests.
Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies confirmed six arrests have been made.
The group appeared to be smaller than those seen in previous years, but there were still some familiar sights beyond the riders.
For instance, cameras showed a Miami-Dade Police cruiser and a tow truck parked at a gas station in Northwest Miami-Dade. What was missing were actual dirt bikes and ATVs in the back of the wrecker.
But police said they have confiscated vehicles. They have seized six ATVs and four motorcycles or dirt bikes, as of 9 a.m.
BSO said they seized three bikes.
On Monday, officials across South Florida stressed that the event, held during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend, put people’s lives in danger.
“We don’t need the foolishness on the streets. It’s not worth it, and that’s not what this day was for,” said Broward Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jeff Mellies.
“MLK, you gotta represent. That’s what it’s all about,” said one of the riders.
Officials also indicated the dangerous tradition has become something it was never intended to be.
“In 2014, this event started in South Philadelphia to honor a slain bike rider,” said Mellies. “It has since morphed, over the years, into an excuse for the small percentage of the population to come out here and try to wreak havoc.”
One ATV rider who spoke to 7News said that argument doesn’t tell the whole story.
“It’s very unfortunate. Some people do it for the right thing, some people do it for the [expletive]. Pretty good over here,” he said. “Like I said, there’s bad people out here and good people out here.”
Cameras also captured hundreds of people on bicycles in Miami. It became a dangerous scene when some of them came close to a transit bus that was crossing an intersection.
“Channel 7, how y’all doing?” said one biker. “We’re just trying to enjoy the weather, enjoy ourselves and be safe.”
7SkyForce HD captured a wreck involving multiple bikes that are not street legal, but there were no reports of serious injuries.
Police said they were out in full force and ready to catch and charge anyone causing problems on the roads.
“Obviously, law enforcement will be out there to enforce the law and protect the public,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo Ramirez.
“Even if you think you have gotten away with it today, don’t be surprised if you get a knock on your door tomorrow,” said Mellies.
As of 9 a.m. Tuesday, MDPD officers have issued 24 moving citations and four non-moving citations. Officials said they have also recovered six guns.
In Broward County, deputies issued 26 citations and one gun was recovered.
Police urge drivers who come across the riders to yield as much right of way as possible and not to interact with them.
Copyright 2021 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.