Wheels Up, Guns Down ride outs race across South Florida

More than 30 riders arrested in Broward, Miami-Dade counties

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Authorities across South Florida cracked down on hundreds of ATV and dirt bike riders Monday as they took to the region's roadways for the annual Wheels Up, Guns Down ride outs.

Sky 10 spotted large numbers of riders cruising through northern Miami-Dade County and southern Broward County Monday afternoon, occasionally congregating at gas stations and open lots. At one point, a pack of riders followed a tow truck carrying seized ATVs, heckling the driver with crude gestures.

At other times, the riders ran red lights and stopped traffic at intersections. One rider kicked an SUV that was forced to abruptly stop when the pack rode through a red light.

Sky 10 showed at least one crash as a bike collided with a car near U.S. Route 1 and Hallandale Beach Boulevard. A roadblock set up by Hollywood police caused the group to turn around, preventing it from heading farther north.

Occasionally, riders veered into oncoming traffic, but they quickly slipped back into the correct lanes. So far, the riders have stayed on local roads, avoiding major highways, such as Interstate 95 and Florida's Turnpike.

In Lauderdale Lakes, an ATV rider was seriously hurt around 5 p.m. after the ATV crashed into a fence at State Road 7 and Northwest 26th Street, a spokesman for Lauderhill Fire Rescue said. Paramedics transported man to Broward Health Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition.

Since Friday, Miami-Dade County police reported that officers had towed 33 ATVs or dirt bikes, seized four guns and arrested 14 people.

"Our officers are out enforcing traffic laws. Do not drive unauthorized vehicles on roadways," the department said on Twitter.

One rider was seriously hurt after a crash in Lauderdale Lakes.

Over the weekend, deputies in Broward arrested 10 people and seized 21 ATVs or dirt bikes as some riders took to the roads early. On Monday, deputies arrested 11 people, seized 13 ATV or dirt bikes and two guns.

In Hollywood, police said officers arrested one rider, issued 38 citations and 22 warnings over the weekend.

Hundreds of ATV and dirt bike riders hit South Florida roadways during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend each year, despite warnings from local law enforcement agencies. It is illegal to ride ATVs and dirt bikes on major roadways, and many riders often perform dangerous stunts during the ride outs.

While most riders remain peaceful, others cause considerable danger on the roads, leading police to make moves to stop the rides.
 

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