PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Reading Police Department is letting residents know they have been made aware of concerns over the illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVS in the city, but need their help to stop it. Reading police are asking the public for any information that can help them further investigate and identify the people illegally operating the bikes.
Information can be submitted in a confidential manner online.
Reading isn’t the only city receiving complaints over dirt bikes and ATVs being illegally driven on the streets.
It’s an ongoing issue in many parts of the city, but Broad Street seems to be a favorite destination for these riders.
A video taken by Broad Street resident Tom Ayers on Sunday shows dozens of ATV, dirt bike and motorcycle riders bringing traffic to a halt at South Street. Most of them were riding in the opposite direction of traffic.
“They’ll run red lights, they’ll stop traffic so they can go by and often times these are dirt bikes and ATVs that don’t have headlights,” Ayers said. “They’re not street legal.”
Ayers and his neighbors say the problem has only gotten worse this summer with the pandemic. Eyewitness News has several videos from the past few months of riders operating recklessly in traffic.
Piper, Ayers and other neighbors on South Broad Street formed a group to reach out to city officials and police because they feel not enough is being done to stop these illegal rides.
Councilman Mark Squilla, who represents part of Center City, is corresponding with the group and said police have a detail to specifically deal with this issue. They’ve seized some 100 ATVs and dirt bikes between two sweeps this summer, with plans to do more.
“If we send a message that it’s not going to be tolerated, if you’re on the streets with an illegal bike, it will be confiscated, people are a lot less likely, to maybe pay good dollars for this type of vehicle to have it taken away,” Squilla said.
@PhillyPolice have a policy to not chase these riders for fear it may cause a crash and injure someone. They can, however, cite riders & seize these off-roading vehicles. They did not respond back to my request for comment on this story.
— Trang Do (@TrangDoCBS3) September 3, 2020
Neighbors hope the message gets out before an innocent person is hurt or even killed.
Philadelphia police say they have a no chase policy when it comes to the riders because they fear it might cause a crash and injure someone. But, they can cite the riders and seize the off-road vehicles.