BALTIMORE (WJZ) — City police are now preparing to deal with dozens of illegal dirt bikers and the hundreds of people expected to come out and watch them take to Baltimore streets once again this weekend.
Derek Valcourt spoke with city police about how they plan to deal with crowds this weekend.
For decades, dirt bikers have illegally ridden through Baltimore City streets. They’re famous for their tricks and for the dangerous way they drive — speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, failing to obey the rules of the road and often driving at night without headlights.
Over the years, they’ve caused accidents, hurting themselves and sometimes their spectators — like Baltimore mom Allison Blanding, who was killed in May when a dirt biker lost control and hit her and then fled from the scene.
The noise, the crowds and the impact on traffic all garner complaints.
“Nobody wants to be able to tolerate that on a regular basis,” said Sen. Catherine Pugh, (D) Baltimore.
But it’s been city policy not to chase the bikers to prevent tragedies. Police have struggled to get a handle on the situation.
“What is new is our new holistic approach we’re taking at this issue,” said Sgt. Jarron Jackson, Baltimore Police Department.
Police and the mayor say they’re reaching out to the community to look for a solution after tensions erupted last Sunday.
That’s when officers had rocks and other objects thrown at them at a weekly dirt bike gathering on Reisterstown Road. That triggered a large response from police — some in riot gear — ordering the crowds to disperse.
But after police left, the riders returned and promise to be back again this Sunday.
Police say they’ll be back, too, but refuse to say what — if anything — they’ll do about the bikers.
“Our officers will be deployed in the area, our commanders will be working, evaluating the situation and changing deployment plans as they see fit,” said Sgt. Jackson.
Police are asking citizens to call 911 if they see dirt bike riders on the streets or even fueling up at gas stations.
Several city council members are calling for the city to explore the idea of building a special dirt bike park.