MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Due to heavy police presence, this year’s Wheels Up, Guns Down rides throughout South Florida were mostly subdued compared to events from prior years.
Monday night, Miami-Dade police announced 15 arrests over the holiday weekend, which include felony, misdemeanor, and traffic-related charges. Ten ATVs including dirt bikes were impounded.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccine Joining In The Fight Against Global Pandemic
Chopper 4 images showed a group of mostly bicyclists on Northwest 12th Avenue, near 51 Street.
As in past years, many participants could be seen doing wheelies and our cameras captured them obeying traffic laws.
CBS4’s Joan Murray said missing from this year’s ride were riders taking over highways and side streets. Also missing, were bikers running lights, tying up traffic, and even causing crashes.
The annual ride held to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which started in 2014 in Philadelphia, has morphed into motorcyclists and ATVersa trying to wreak havoc.
Later Monday, Chopper 4 was overhead several groups of dirt bike and ATV riders in Miami-Dade. They popped wheelies. Zoomed around cars. Traveled through neighborhoods.
They call it “Wheels up, guns down” and the dangerous stunts happen every year on the Martin Luther King Jr Holiday. There are usually smaller groups riding around leading up to the holiday as well. But ATVs and dirt bikes are not allowed on public streets. And some of the riders who are caught have guns.
This year police were out in force to prevent riders from breaking the law.READ MORE: South Florida House Republicans Vote Against President Biden's $1.9 Trillion Pandemic Relief Package
Just last week, Florida Highway Patrol officials held a press conference to warn riders planning on breaking the law.
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“The illegal operation of motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes on highways and roadways is extremely hazardous and dangerous to the public. The goal is to prevent hazards and deaths and injuries with reckless driving and behavior,” said FHP Lt. Alex Camacho.
The FHP said they will be out in force in an effort to save lives.
“FHP encourages everyone to enjoy the holiday. We do have a zero-tolerance for reckless driving on our interstate expressways and highways, those are the types of violations that create hazards in the end and we ask that people refrain from doing so. Getting your vehicle impounded and arrest is no way to enjoy the holiday weekend. The dangers are real and avoidable,” said FHP Commander Christopher Dellapietra.
Authorities planned to use helicopters for air surveillance and have deputies and officers positioned around the county ready to take action when needed.
Last year in Broward, 18 criminal citations were issued, 14 arrests were made, and 16 bikes were towed.
In Miami-Dade, 41 ATVs and dirt bikes were impounded, two firearms seized, and 28 arrests were madeMORE NEWS: Trump A Dominant Force At Conservative Conference In Orlando
The sheriff’s office and the police had urged the public to say something if they saw something suspicious.