MIAMI (WSVN) - At least 100 all-terrain vehicle and dirt bike riders were spotted across parts of Miami-Dade County throughout Martin Luther King Jr. Day, including sections of Doral, Hialeah and West Miami-Dade, leading police officers to arrest more than two dozen of them.
Riders were initially spotted in Miami Shores and Northwest Miami-Dade on Monday afternoon before they started heading west, then made a southbound turn before coming back north, as they continued the annual, but unauthorized, “Wheels Up, Guns Down” holiday tradition.
7News cameras captured at least three bikers in handcuffs as they sat on a sidewalk near Northwest 79th Street and 22nd Avenue in Northwest Miami-Dade, Monday night.
It was a more chaotic scene in Miami Shores just after 4 p.m., as riders zoomed past Hubert O. Sibley Elementary School, along Northwest 115th Street, near Third Avenue.
Riders were seen zipping down the roadway at a high rate of speed, as high as 58 mph in some cases. Some of them were seen popping wheelies. Others were seen riding on the sidewalk or against traffic.
School was out because of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but there were children on their bicycles in the area. Their relative proximity to the riders raised safety concerns.
In North Miami, more than a dozen riders were seen heading into oncoming traffic at an intersection.
7SkyForce HD captured a dirt bike rider popping a wheelie with one leg in the air as he headed southbound on Northwest 42nd Avenue, near 175th Street.
When a 7News reporter asked why they took to the road in vehicles that are not street legal, one rider in Miami Shores said, “That’s what we love to do. That’s it. It’s just something we love to do.”
When asked about potential safety risks, the rider said, “We’re not trying to harm anybody else.”
Another rider said he looks forward to the yearly tradition.
“It’s been crazy, man. I’ve been here for two years, and this has been absolutely amazing,” he said.
When asked what’s amazing about it, he replied, “The vibe, man, the total vibe, the vibe of MLK. Everybody from New Orleans, Baltimore and New York City; everybody comes together.”
Police officers were not spotted in the area at the time but were seen in other parts of the county. A Miami-Dade Police officer said they are doing the best they can, and they would stop riders if they can do so safely. He said it’s not worth it to them to chase after these riders on roadways where others could be hurt.
Just after 5 p.m., bikers had been spotted weaving in and out of traffic in parts of Hialeah.
About 25 minutes later, riders were seen at an Exxon gas station in the area of Northwest 58th Street and 197th Avenue in Doral.
Cameras captured a police officer taking a man into custody at the station. It remains unclear whether he was one of the riders who were arrested.
About 10 minutes later, Doral Police officers were seen following several riders in an attempt to ensure they left the city.
Shortly after, Florida Highway Patrol troopers in Hialeah were seen using their vehicles to prevent the bikers from entering the Palmetto Expressway, but many passed the attempted road block.
7SkyForce HD hovered above a few dozen bikers fueling up at the U-Gas and Marathon stations at the intersection of Southwest Eighth Street and 74th Avenue in West Miami-Dade, just before 6 p.m.
About 20 minutes later, aerial cameras captured bikers heading eastbound near Southwest Eighth Street and Red Road in West Miami.
Just before 7 p.m. 7SkyForce HD flew above several riders heading westbound on Northwest 79th Street, near 12th Avenue.
Later on Monday night, a video posted to Instagram captured the aftermath of a collision on Biscayne Boulevard near downtown Miami, after an ATV rider had apparently rear-ended a car.
Police spent the days leading up to MLK Day reminding everybody that riding off-road vehicles on public roadways is illegal.
Nevertheless, this year’s reckless activity appeared to be less than in previous years.
According to Miami-Dade Police, officers have impounded 36 vehicles, issued 44 traffic citations and recovered two firearms. As far as arrests, police said they have made 11 felony arrests, five misdemeanor arrests and 14 traffic arrests for a total of 30. The numbers include activity from Saturday through Monday.
North of the county line, Broward Sheriff’s Office officials have reported 14 arrests, 18 criminal citations, 16 vehicles towed and one gun recovered.
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