Large number of ATVs spotted on South Florida roads ahead of MLK holiday

Packs of off-road vehicles already involved in at least 1 crash

By Madeleine Wright - Reporter, Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. - One man was seriously hurt Sunday after he crashed his all-terrain vehicle into another car in northwest Miami-Dade County, officials said.

Citing safety concerns, authorities across South Florida have repeatedly warned people not to ride ATVs and dirt bikes on roads during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

A Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend event known as the "Bikes Up, Guns Down" ride is known to involve illegal ATV and dirt bike riding on the streets and dangerous stunts.

Lt. Felipe Lay, a spokesman for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said the crash happened just before 5 p.m. at Northwest 22nd Avenue and Northwest 63rd Street. Lay said the ATV rider drove into oncoming traffic.

The ATV rider, who was not identified by authorities, was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, where he is listed in critical condition.

"Respect the laws of our state," Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez said Sunday. "Aside from being against the traffic laws, reckless use of off-road vehicles can lead to deadly consequences or serious injuries to the drivers themselves, pedestrians, and others on our roadways."

Miami-Dade police said that since Saturday, 38 ATVs or dirt bikes have been towed, 29 citations were issued and multiple arrests were made as a result of their traffic enforcement efforts.

In the past several days, large packs of riders have been spotted traveling along roads and highways in Miami-Dade County.

On Saturday, surveillance video showed dozens of all-terrain vehicles and motorcycle riders gathered at the Sunoco Gas Station on Northwest 183rd Street in Miami Gardens.

The video shows a police officer rushing in, apparently chasing after one particular person.

While the officer is away, someone jumps up and down on top of the officer’s car, appearing to mock him.

Karen Clarke, a spokeswoman for the city of Miami Gardens, said no one was arrested after the incident. She said the patrol car had minor damage and no one was hurt.

Delaware Hossain, the Sunoco's manager, said he's never seen so many ATV and motorcycle riders at his gas station.

Police said they have zero tolerance for the reckless, dangerous behavior that’s expected Monday.

Last year, the driver of a Toyota Camry struck and killed Javis Charles, 25, at Northwest Sixth Avenue and 54th Street in Miami's Little Haiti. Charles was on a dirt bike, which isn't allowed on the streets.

A 20-year-old man was riding an ATV, also not allowed on the streets, on the Palmetto Expressway when he was injured and was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

According to Florida law, ATVs cannot be operated anywhere on a road or highway. They can only be operated on private land or designated ATV tracks.

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