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Motorcycle, ATV riders causing havoc on South Florida roadways

'We are between a rock and a hard place with this situation,' trooper says

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Some call it a "rush" and said they are not out to hurt anyone. But on the roads of South Florida, a dangerous and illegal cat and mouse game seems to be happening more and more, and police said they are limited in what they can do.

The Florida Highway Patrol said fatal motorcycle crashes are up 25 percent because of the aggressive nature of riders these day. Some riders said it is all part of a movement called "Bikes Up, Guns Down." But some are going too far.

Pinecrest resident Lisa Melkin said she was on State Road 836 Saturday night when she and her husband became surrounded by motorcyclists. One of the riders began to bang on her SUV.

"I was screaming," She told Local 10 News. "One was doing wheelies, another was crisscrossing in the road."

Another Local 10 News viewer was on State Road 112 near Interstate 95 and was also startled by a large group of dirt bikers and ATV riders popping wheelies and speeding.

Who could forget last Martin Luther King Day, when riders from all over the country converged on South Florida and took over the region's busiest road?

"We are between a rock and a hard place with this situation," Trooper Joe Sanchez said. "Our policy doesn't allow us to pursue a motorcycle. If we were to chase them and they would run through an intersection and kill someone, then the burden falls on us, so we have to be careful of how we address that issue and make sure we enforce the law."

Several videos have been posted on social media of riders taunting police and even flipping them off. Law enforcement monitors social media and often shows up where the large groups converge to shut it down before it starts. Helicopters are also used to track riders.

"I have ridden on I-95," said an 18-year-old who rides an ATV and only identified himself as Alex. "The MLK ride-out is legendary. It is the (most fun) I have ever had. If it wasn't for riding, I'd be somewhere doing drugs or something stupid."

Many riders have been severely injured and have seen friends die.

"Ask someone who smokes why they do it if they know it is dangerous," said a 19-year-old identified as Christian.

Insiders said plans are already underway for another MLK Day ride and they claim it will be even bigger.

"This is a culture. Everyone (wants to) ride a dirt bike on the streets, even the small kids." said Tommy Hines, owner of Tommy's Cycle on NW 27th Avenue in Miami.

"If we do stop you, you will get arrested for reckless driving," Sanchez said. "We will seize that motorcycle and you will go to jail."

"I can't stop. It's like a drug," Alex said.

Follow Jeff Weinsier on Twitter @jweinsier

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