BSO, FHP to curb ATV, dirt bike riders on MLK holiday

Authorities announced they will strictly enforce the law to any ATV or dirt bike riders on South Florida roads during the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

During a press conference held at the Broward Sheriff’s Office headquarters, Thursday afternoon, law enforcement officials from different agencies across South Florida said they will not tolerate any reckless driving.

“If you’re planning on disrupting traffic or endangering the lives of yourselves or anyone else, you will be dealt with from a zero tolerance standpoint,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.

Authorities said, this year, they will be prepared to enforce traffic laws with additional units on the ground and in the air. FHP will have air support, along with BSO choppers.

“You might be able to outmaneuver us. We may not necessarily chase, but you can’t escape the aircraft,” said Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Robert Chandler.

ATVs and dirt bikes are not legal on Florida’s paved roads and highways. Violators will be issued tickets, and their vehicles could be confiscated.

“You could be ticketed. You could be arrested, and certainly, your ATV or off-road vehicle could be confiscated,” said Israel.

“Doing wheelies, driving the wrong way on the Interstate, etcetera, besides being illegal, it is extremely dangerous to all parties,” said Chandler. “The citations in Broward County, they start anywhere from $116 on the low end to $1,165, if you do wheelies and drive recklessly on our interstates or any road.”

Every MLK holiday, for the past two years, ATV and dirt bike riders have swarmed South Florida roads in what organizers coined “Wheels Up, Guns Down.”

Participants said they are exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest. “It’s a non-violence movement. It’s all for bikers, for anyone who wants to get involved,” said a rider in 2016.

But police said the movement led to multiple crashes and injuries that they’re hoping to avoid this year. “Under the First Amendment of our Constitution, it allows for peaceful protests,” said Pembroke Pines Police Capt. Al Xiques. “That’s not why we’re here. We’re here because a group of individuals choose to break the law.”

Riders under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult, or they will be issued a citation. Those under the age of 16 pulled over for riding an ATV without a helmet will also be ticketed.

“We are absolutely prepared to make Broward County as safe as possible,” said Israel.

FHP officials said they will have at least 50 troopers out on the road in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to ensure no one is breaking the law. They will have two command posts, but they did not disclose where they will be located.

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