Zero tolerance for illegal driving during upcoming ‘Wheels Up, Guns Down’ rallies, BSO says

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Ahead of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, law enforcement is reminding the public of traffic safety and illegal ATV and dirt bike riding.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office and other police agencies hosted a news conference Tuesday morning alongside other law enforcement agencies to discuss the numerous MLK rallies, including Wheels Up, Guns Down, that take place in South Florida. During these rallies, officials said, several people illegally ride ATV and dirt bikes on roads to celebrate the holiday.

“We are not looking to arrest people and put this type of thing on a person’s record,” said Sheriff Scott Israel. “However, the most important thing we can do is keep Broward County a safe place.”

“Together, if everybody abides by the rules and regulations, we’ll minimize crashes, and we’ll eliminate these deaths,” said Miami-Dade Police Lt. Juan Villalba.

One man was killed in Miami when his bike slammed into a car last year. That same year another man was rushed to a hospital in critical condition after hitting a truck, and dozens were arrested and forced to pay a fine to get their bikes back.

Hollywood Police said they made an arrest Sunday after a group of ATV riders hit the streets a week before the celebration.

This year, authorities are hoping riders will heed their warning. “The best thing you can do is not go out there and break our laws and drive reckless on our highway and city streets,” said Florida Highway Patrol Major Robert Chandler.

Last year, a New York resident participated in the Wheels Up, Guns Down rally and faced charges of reckless driving and fleeing with disregard to the safety of others.

Related: Man arrested in New York after posting video of cops chasing him in South Florida

“Come down and enjoy the better weather than up north,” said Florida Highway Patrol Major Robert Chandler. “Take part of our beaches and other things we offer, but this is not a lawful event.”

Officials said they have a no-tolerance policy and will tow bikes and ATVs. They said social media accounts will also be monitored.

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