ATLANTA - It happened again over the weekend. ATV and dirt bikers took to the streets, breaking the law, and scaring legal motorists with their dangerous antics. Video shots this past weekend show them popping wheelies, running red lights, and weaving in and out of traffic. It’s a problem that has been going on in Atlanta for a number of years now, and witnesses said they are just getting bolder and more dangerous.
One of the areas they hit this weekend was the busy intersection of Piedmont and Peachtree roads where those vehicles flew through a red light.
Atlanta's police chief promised a crackdown on these illegal riders and now more details about how they are doing that are emerging. Police said it is making a dent in the illegal road activities and they are trying to do so before the problems escalate as it has in other cities, into violent road rage.
Already, several people have been injured, including one this weekend, in these little joyride outings. It is why Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier with the Atlanta Police Department said officers are serious about ending it despite the struggle.
“It was like they were intentionally preventing me from moving forward so all the other motorcycles and dirt bikes could get around me and keep going,” one driver told us. “They just kept coming, no stopping, standing up on the motorcycles, standing on the backs of the four-wheelers. I just thought it was the wildest thing I’ve seen in traffic. And again it's terrifying for a teen driver to have -- if my son had been trying to navigate that, I don't know.”
While motorists may have seen the caravan of rough riders, they may not have seen the half dozen arrests and impounding of a half dozen vehicles from those among their ranks.
Despite the progress of APD officer and Georgia State Patrol troopers, the situation still remains very dangerous.
“We’ve had police officers surrounded by dozens of ATVs before. We take it very seriously. We thinking their actions are reckless and dangerous. And they shouldn't be anywhere in the city, especially in some of these neighborhoods in the city parks. So the challenge that I’ve said before is always the apprehension part,” the deputy chief said.
Glazier said they are not going to chase the lawbreakers, but will have their helicopter follow them until they are safely stopped, then they will spring into arrest mode, corralling them, and impounding their vehicles.