BALTIMORE (WJZ)–After several recent deaths and injuries in dirt bike crashes in Baltimore some city leaders are moving forward with their plans for a dirt bike park.
Amy Yensi has more.
Dirt bike riders blowing through Baltimore streets and weaving in and out of traffic is a common sight during warmer months.
Three people, including Ka’re Smith and Allison Blanding were killed in 2015 and several hurt in dirt bike crashes this year.
That’s why some city leaders are moving ahead with their plan for a dirt bike park in Baltimore.
“It gives them an outlet, another recreation facility for what is being vilified, to de-vilify it,” said one supporter.
Dirt bike riding on Baltimore city streets is illegal and some say dangerous for pedestrians, other motorists and the riders themselves.
Last summer, city police cracked down on the activity in North West Baltimore with their “traffic calming approach.
Now, perhaps a different approach: a dirt bike park.
Council members Pete Welch and Carl Stokes visit two dirt bike parks in Hanover, Pennsylvania to get design ideas.
Supporters say skateboarding was once seen as a threat to public safety, but eventually the city built for riders. They want the same for dirt bikes.
“Kids want to have a safe place to ride without being chased, harassed, any type of threats whatsoever,” said Steve, who rides with the 12 o’clock Boys.
“We want to make things happen in a way that’s safe, wholesome, and legal,” said Councilman Stokes.
As of now city police are not initiating a park, but are open to the idea.
“Any alternative to be on the streets where pedestrians and vehicular traffic is something that we are going to pay close attention to,” said Baltimore Police spokesperson T.J. Smith.
Something many are doing in the wake of Raven’s player Tray Walker’s death in a dirt bike crash this week.
“This is exactly what we don’t want to happen here in Baltimore.”
“We just have to realize that they’re not going to stop riding the bikes and the police can’t chase them, so we have to think of other alternatives,” said Councilman Brandon Scott.
The council members say they are not worried that a riding park will increase the number of stolen dirt bikes.
Councilman Welch says he plans to reach out to the Ravens about naming the dirt bike after Tray Walker as a tribute.