BSO teams up with other agencies to crack down on 'Bikes Up, Guns Down' riders

By Terrell Forney - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Next Monday, hundreds of people are expected to take part in the annual "Bikes Up, Guns Down" ride across South Florida on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

Safety is always an issue with the event typically ending in injuries and arrests. 

Authorities said the so-called ride-out is not a sanctioned event. In fact, it is illegal because the participants are on ATVs and dirt bikes not designed for public roads.

The Broward Sheriff's Office on Tuesday teamed up with the Florida Highway Patrol, the Pembroke Pines Police Department, the Hollywood Police Department and the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, among other agencies, to form one of the largest planned operations in Broward County in quite some time.

Hundreds of officers will be staged on the ground and in the air to target those illegal street riders who pose a danger to other motorists.

To drive home the point of safety, officers showed off a few wrecked bikes they confiscated in crashes to prove that cars and these off-road machines just don't mix.

We've seen the takeover on our roads and highways in years past as hundreds of riders were out in force, disobeying traffic laws and speeding past startled drivers.

Their movement, they say, honors the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on his designated holiday.

But police said there’s never an excuse to break the law.

"His legacy should be remembered during the holiday with honor and respect, certainly not by taking part in illegal activity and endangering the lives of others," Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel said. 

This year, authorities said they will have a zero tolerance approach and promise violators that they'll face ticketing, towing and arrest if it comes to it.

"At speeds of 65, 70 mph -- and they're not really capable of those speeds doing wheelies and all kinds of stunts. This is not a playground, this is a dangerous place," Maj. Robert Chandler said.  

Last year, three dozen bikes were confiscated and about two dozen people were arrested.

Authorities are even tracking social media, so police say while they may not come knocking right away, they will get to you eventually.

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