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Even though law enforcement agencies across South Florida spent last week warning people that they would be out in force cracking down on people riding ATVs and street bikes illegally during Martin Luther King Day weekend, Miami-Dade’s police department has already issued tickets, towed bikes and arrested people, the agency announced Sunday.
While the bulk of the riders are expected Monday in a ride dubbed #Bikesupgunsdown (also known as Wheels up, Guns Down), minibikes and other off-road vehicles have already been spotted weaving in and out of traffic and popping wheelies on major thoroughfares including U.S. 27 and the Palmetto Expressway.
By Sunday evening, Miami-Dade police said 38 ATVs and dirt bikes had been towed, 29 citations had been written and “multiple” arrests had been made.
“DO NOT drive unauthorized vehicles on roadway,” the department said in a tweet. “The reckless use of off-road vehicles is dangerous to drivers/pedestrians!”
Four years ago, the ride began as a way to honor the life of a popular Philadelphia biker named Kyrell Tyler, or “Dirt Bike Rell.” His death remains unsolved. Over the years, the ride has grown and has become more of an anti-gun violence and civil rights demonstration.
Last week, both Miami-Dade and Broward agencies held separate news conferences warning riders to obey street laws.
“These individuals that take on this hazardous task of coming out to ride these minibikes, ATVs or motorcycles in a reckless manner are putting their lives as well as others in danger,” Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Joe Sanchez said at the Miami-Dade conference. “Let it be known, law enforcement will be out there to ensure that they will be cited, arrested and their bikes will be seized.”