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ATV and dirt bike riders congregate in South Florida for annual Wheels Up, Guns Down event

Large groups of dirt bikers, ATV riders and motorcyclists are once again planning to swarm the streets of South Florida on MLK Day.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. – The controversial event that happens annually in South Florida on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is once again upon us.

Large groups of dirt bikers, ATV riders and motorcyclists are planning to swarm the streets of Miami-Dade and Broward counties on Monday, and they’re coming from all over the country.

Participants got an early start to dangerous drive Saturday, riding down Biscayne Boulevard near Southeast 3rd Street in Miami.

Earlier in the day, about a hundred riders gathered at Speedway gas station on Northwest 27th Avenue in Miami Gardens.

A man who did not give his name told Local 10, “We’re not like the bikes you see doing the wheelies and all that. Most of these people are 35 to 50 (years old), and we just ride.”

The Broward Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with Florida Highway Patrol to catch the riders who perform stunts, box in other drivers and speed down streets and highways.

“We know where these groups are,” said Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Robert Chandler. “We’re going to handle it. Please do not take matters into your own hands. Do not engage with these folks.”

The Wheels Up, Guns Down event, as it’s called, loosely honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and his message of nonviolence, but over the years it has devolved into a celebration of lawlessness.

“We will be conducting a zero-tolerance operation as this event is non-sanctioned, it’s illegal, and it’s a threat to public safety,” said Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony.

About the Author:

Madeleine Wright is a general assignment reporter for Local 10 News. She joined the team in March 2017.