How do we feel about dirt bikes and ATV’s on city streets?
It’s your girl, P.O.C.! This June, City Council banned dirt bikes from city streets, and made them subject to confiscation. Philly police however are now caught trying to do the impossible: catch these dirt bikes without a car chase, which can be deadly (and would be an inappropriate response to a non-violent crime).
Unfortunately, this has not stopped many bikers from continuously riding – sometimes recklessly – throughout Philadelphia, causing concerns for drivers and pedestrians alike.
While Krasner’s office and the Philadelphia Police Dept strategize ways to crack down on illegal Slingshots/ATVs and dirt bikes, the riders remain defiant, telling WHYY “I’m never gonna stop, never, no matter if they take three, four bikes, I’m never gonna stop.”
Are you Mad or Nah? I hit the streets with my mic, here’s what folks on your block are saying.
Neighbors sound off! NOTE: Some speakers provide their names & neighborhoods, some don’t. Check out their voices in the original recorded interviews, transcribed here:
- They should be mindful of other people in traffic. They just don’t care. — Resident, West Philly
- They shouldn’t be riding dirt bikes at all, it’s very dangerous. I’m more on the other side. I don’t agree with them. Press charges! — Resident, Wynnefield
- You want to give them the right idea of where to ride their dirt bikes at. So, you know, I’m here and there on this. I do want them to wear helmets! — Resident, North Philadelphia
- I’m not for it at all, I’m very anti- noise pollution. I go to bed early, I have a daughter, I have a small dog. My block is a hotbed for ATV and dirt bike activity. The revving, the engines. How loud it is, the skirting. They’re hitting my block hard, I live on a small street and they’re doing 80 down there, the speed limit is 25. It’s dangerous and it’s loud. It’s very obnoxious. Cut off times would be nice. You know, people do have to work in the morning. Riding by someone’s house at 3am, revving really loud should not be OK. It should be citations, at the minimum. – Michael, Northeast Philly
- All they’re really doing is trying to find an outlet. You know, some of them might be in the streets, some of them might not. Some of them just use dirt biking, you know, just to get away from something in a point in time, like, I choose basketball when I’m in my head, to get out of it. You know what I’m saying? So this is their outlet. And as to the point of being on the streets, yeah, we don’t have a lot of dirt places and stuff like that without going far out of town for them to actually ride in. So this is the next best thing. – Resident, West Philly
- I think the City’s policy is overly strict, and I think it’s probably going to catch the wrong people on it. People have said that there would be suggested doing like a dirt bike park or something like that. I don’t think that’s actually realistic, but seems like a great idea. But I don’t think that’s going to solve the issue. There are reasons people move towards dirt bikes and ATVs — they’re less expensive than street legal bikes that require having tags and getting inspected and also tend to be more expensive. And so it feels to me like these policies that are very aggressive, tend to disproportionately affect the wrong groups. – Resident, West Philly
- People that are running red lights and running stop signs and causing all kinds of chaos in the streets? Yes. Those people should get in trouble. That’s kind of how I feel. I don’t know a solution for it, but I have been in many situations where I’ve almost got run over, and to me that’s dangerous. – Resident, Point Breeze
- I’m serious, now. Put them in the park. Let them do what they – they can do all they want to in that park! They’re not bothering nobody. – Resident, Philadelphia
How ‘Bout You?
Mad or Nah is an original woman-on-the-street interview series from REVIVE Radio that asks Philadelphians about issues impacting their everyday life. This edition originally aired October 13, 2021 on WHYY.com.
Tamara Russell aka Proof of Consciousness aka P.O.C. hosts and produces a variety of award-winning shows featured on Uptown Radio 98.5FM and Philly’s WHYY/NPR/PBS outlets. Read more in our feature on this multi-talented motivator, Wouldn’t It Be NICE? (June 2021).