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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Motorcycles, ATVs, and dirt bikes flooded the streets and highways of South Florida Monday afternoon and night, performing reckless wheelies and weaving in and out of traffic.
The annual Martin Luther King Day “Wheels Up, Guns Down” motorized madness saw people hurt and killed.
Motorcyclists could be seen speeding through the streets of Miami around 2:3o p.m. They made their way up I-95 through Miami, and west into Opa Locka and down into Liberty City, popping wheelies and blocking traffic.
The operator of a dirt bike collided with a woman’s car at NW 6th Avenue and 54th Street on Monday night in Miami.
The rider was taken to Ryder Trauma Center in full cardiac arrest, and died at the hospital.
Traffic homicide investigators arrived at the crash scene, and remained for hours.
At the Palmetto Expressway and NW 27th Avenue in Miami Gardens, a biker lay gravely injured on the pavement, thrown through the air after being hit by a pickup truck.
His pals hung around, not helping him. And when the cops showed up, his buddies took off on their bikes, leaving him lying in the street.
He was air rescued to Ryder Trauma Center with multiple, serious injuries.
On Sunday, a 20-year-old on an illegal ATV was killed while riding with a pack and losing control on the Palmetto Expressway. It’s believed he traveled from Orlando to participate in the event.
“That’s something very serious. As you can tell, there are people who have been injured and even lost their lives,” said Miami-Dade Det. Daniel Ferrin. “This is not where we want to be. We want to try to avoid this type of reckless behavior.”
All this as law enforcement in Miami-Dade and Broward counties promised to crackdown on those who took part in the event that has become an annual event that draws hundreds of motorcyclists and ATV riders from across the country who take to the roads performing risky stunts.
“You’re doing these stunts, you may do a stunt and not see that there is a vehicle that jumps in front of you, and you could cause an accident, potentially killing yourself or someone from one of the other vehicles,” said Miami-Dade police Det. Jennifer Capote.
It’s difficult for police to catch the lawless bikers, but they nabbed some.
Hollywood police could be seen from Chopper4 slapping the cuffs on one man, and seizing his ATV that is not street legal.
By 10:30 p.m., law enforcement in Miami-Dade and Broward arrested 36 people, confiscated 74 various motorcycles, dirt bikes and ATVs and seized three firearms.
At around 3:30 p.m., dozens of bikers blocked traffic just South of 103rd Street and US-441 for a couple of minutes before continuing the ride.
You may have noticed the information signs on the major highways over the last few days with the message that “Off-Road Vehicles (Are) Prohibited on Public Roadways.”
Motorcyclists caught weaving in and out of traffic or popping wheelies could be given a citation for reckless driving.
If what they’re doing is dangerous and illegal, there is also a disrespectful aspect.
“Today is a day of celebration. Today is the day to remember somebody who made a big impact of our history. It’s to celebrate his life for what he did, not to necessarily come and make it full of tragedies and sadness where we have more lives lost,” said Miami-Dade Det. Alvaro Zabaleta.
Sunday afternoon, a crash on the Palmetto Expressway at NW 193rd Street involving several ATVs tied up traffic for hours. One ATV rider was killed.
Florida Highway Patrol said the vehicles were going southbound but aren’t sure if someone lost control or was hit, resulting in the crash.
Earlier in the afternoon, a group of motorcyclists weaving in and out of traffic were seen on the Palmetto northbound. At least one of them even performed a potentially-dangerous stunt.
Police caution that you’re 27 times more likely to die in a bike crash than in a car crash and your odds of dying are dramatically increased if you’re not wearing a helmet.
Most of those who’ve taken part in “Wheels Up, Guns Down” in years past were not wearing a helmet, not only endangering themselves with their driving but the public, as well.
Cops vow to continue cracking down until they put an end to a dangerous, now deadly, annual holiday lunacy.