Local law enforcement officials are fed up with dirt bike and ATV riders screaming down sidewalks and tearing through yards in Atlanta.
Though illegal, the behavior of members of “ATL Bike Life”—a group that rides en masse on Sundays in the warmer months—has been excused by some as an avenue away from a life of gang activity and other crime.
Others have called the riding groups, who travel across Atlanta, a nuisance at best and public danger at worst.
Now, a year since 24-year-old Michael Clark died after crashing an ATV into a car—followed by a similar fatal collision this past weekend—the Atlanta Police Department and Georgia State Patrol have teamed up to crack down on the rash of illegal riding.
On Sunday, the partnership nabbed 11 offenders for allegedly breaking laws that prohibit off-road vehicles from being used on public streets.
"They caught us flat-footed," said Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields about ATVs in Atlanta last Sunday. I spoke with police about how they plan to be prepared this weekend. #Atlbikelife pic.twitter.com/pPMY0m3zOS— Matt Johnson (@MattWSB) June 28, 2018
“During the detail, officers conducted 29 traffic stops leading to 11 arrests, six firearms recovered, 10 off-road vehicles and four passenger vehicles impounded, and 11 citations issued,” according to a city press release.
Two of the guns recovered were deemed stolen, and three of the alleged firearm-toting arrestees were reported to be convicted felons.
Two alleged offenders, police said, tried fleeing traffic stops on foot before being apprehended.
In the fatality last summer, the GSP denied ever chasing Clark, despite eyewitness accounts that suggest troopers were tailing him when he lost control of his ATV, according to WSB-TV.
On the day of the crackdown, GSP officials said, one dirt bike rider was killed after crashing into a car in southwest Atlanta’s Capitol View neighborhood, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Advocates for the ATL Bike Life collective have called for the city to build an off-road park so riders don’t have to risk their lives or possible jail time for speeding down city streets.