Miami-Dade police, FHP warn ATV, motorcycle riders to ride safely on MLK Day


MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – It's becoming a tradition for all-terrain vehicle and motorcycle riders to take to the streets of South Florida on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and police had a warning for them on Wednesday.

The event is largely organized on social media, and in the past, authorities have seen many riders, some of whom are from out of state, taking over South Florida's roads, sometimes driving erratically.

"Unfortunately, we see too often individuals who ride these vehicles in a careless and unlawful manner, putting not only themselves in danger but those around them," Miami-Dade police Maj. Hector Llevat said.

Miami-Dade police and the Florida Highway Patrol held a news conference Wednesday to warn the public to be safe next Monday.

"From 2013 to today, our traffic homicide unit has investigated 108 crashes involving ATVs, dirt bikes and motorcycles," Llevat said.

"When operating a motorcycle, you have to obey the law and we will be out there writing tickets and we will be out there protecting the public. That is what we do," FHP Trooper Joe Sanchez said.

Police have used helicopters in the past to track the riders.

FHP policy states that troopers cannot chase a motorcycle unless the rider has committed a forcible felony, but troopers said they do have a plan in place to protect the public.

"It's about safety," Sanchez said. "I know that they put their lives out there in a reckless manner, putting their lives in danger, but they're putting other people in danger, too, so this is something we're taking very seriously."

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