ATLANTA - ATV drivers and motorcyclists are breaking laws once again in Midtown less than a week after police said they were cracking down. But said the problem is keeping people safe and legislation.
Atlanta Police said catching the operators is dangerous. They said they are doing the best they can, but they said they need help from the law itself.
Right now, local residents are trying to help by catching these guys in the act. In a cell phone video taken from a Midtown high-rise, dozens of drivers can be seen speeding down Peachtree Street, popping wheelies, and ignoring red lights.
The video was taken Sunday, May 14, a week after Atlanta Police Chief Ericka Shields said she was cracking down on these crimes. Shields outlined a plan to impound ATVs and possibly impound the bikes as well as well as ticket the operators.
ATVs are not allowed on city streets at all and bikes are only street legal with a proper state tag. Atlanta Police do not keep specific records on the tickets on impounded vehicles so they were not able to give any solid numbers on if the plan is working.
Something residents can do to help law enforcement is to call 911. Police said this helps investigators document locations and behaviors of the criminals.
Residents said they have seen the activity as recent as Sunday. Terry Singhapricha, who lives in Midtown, said he was eating dinner on a patio when he spotted the joyriding.
"We were just sitting here at the local restaurant and we saw a bunch of people on motorcycles and ATVs come up Peachtree, going north, um, they were just riding up and also on the sidewalk too," said Singhapricha. "If they continue to drive on the sidewalk and things like that it's not safe for anybody involved."
Police said giving chase is dangerous because they will not pull over. Many of them are teenagers with no moral compass. They said, eventually, everyone has to stop for gas or their vehicles break down. That is the safest time to catch them.
"It's also dangerous for the bikers because they aren't wearing helmets and gear and they're going pretty high speed so it's a lot of potential trauma that can happen there," said Singhapricha.
Atlanta Police also said more legislation, such as requiring licensing for ATVs will give law enforcement more cause to pull the joyriders. Police also said bike drivers are easier to catch because their vehicles are registered.