PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Police are issuing a warning after dirt bike and ATV gangs swarmed city streets, putting pedestrians in harm’s way.
It was a wild scene in the streets of Philadelphia on Sunday as hundreds of dirt bikes and ATVs sped through the roads in memory of a fellow rider. The chaotic scene ended with approximately 20 arrests and about 30 ATVs and dirt bikes confiscated.
Hundreds of vehicles of all varieties overran neighborhoods from Southwest Philadelphia to Hunting Park to Mayfair late Sunday afternoon, sparking concerns about public safety.
At times, the riders blocked traffic and went the wrong way down stretches of city streets.
The seemingly coordinated ride was apparently in memory of Kyrell Tyler. The 23-year-old, known as Dirt Bike Rell, was killed on Oct. 14, 2014 in Southwest Philly.
Philadelphia Police stayed close by. Some riders fell, leaving behind their bikes.
At one point, a commanding officer was heard over police radio ordering pursuing units to fall back as the group of around 75 made its way onto the Schuylkill Expressway.
Arrests were eventually made. Chopper 3 captured a cemetery chase and takedown with a female officer hurtling over headstones.
CBS3 obtained surveillance video from a gas station at Columbus and Tasker in South Philadelphia where eyewitnesses say police were repeatedly taunted. At one point, it appears a rider pushes a police motorcycle to the ground.
“A lot of innocent people could get hurt,” said resident Patrick Dougherty. “I feel bad for the Philadelphia Police, they can’t do anything anyway.”
The department reported around 20 arrests connected to the city-wide stunt show. Police say trying to get a handle on these rides is a frustrating balancing act.
“When they do happen, we want to be able to resolve them as quickly as possible,” said Philadelphia Police Capt. Sekou Kinebrew. “We also can’t do anything that exacerbates the danger level.
Usually timed with the onset of warmer weather, the department has maintained a high-profile crackdown on dirt bike and ATV riding, both of which are illegal on city streets.
There have also been a number of fatalities over the years.