Thursday, August 19, 2010

☞ WALK: Crossing Paths with Speeding Bikers

While visiting a friend in Hell's Kitchen over the summer, we took the above photo of a large group of bikers speeding down the side street. This had us wondering about the group of dirt bikers that were seen in the past zooming by some of the uptown blocks (and popping the occasional wheelie at that). We haven't seen them recently so does anyone have an update? Readers have asked if the police should chase these guys down but car chases can be pretty disastrous as we have found out in recent months. Also, bike groups are not any oddity downtown and the police don't chase after them there either. If anything, aren't there traffic cameras that record everything? Thoughts?


  1. We still have dirt bikers zooming around at 113th and Lenox. The cops sit and watch them speed by on unlicensed bikes, running red lights and pulling wheelies. Complaints via 311 and 911 have received no response. I guess someone will have to get killed by a biker before anything is done to rein this in.

  2. Around Mount Morris it's not so much gangs as it is small dirt bikes in ones or twos popping wheelies and riding on the sidewalk.

  3. @KC, I hear you about the accident-waiting-to-happen before anyone takes action on this issue. My 2.5 year old daughter and I almost were that accident a few weeks ago when we almost got hit by a dirtbike going 50 MPH ON THE SIDEWALK!!! at 120th & Madison. I had to grab her and lunge against PS 79 to avoid him. Its ridicuous.

  4. What do the police say at meetings etc? This is ridiculous. I have seen kids riding around on ATVs. If anybody else almost gets hit on the sidewalk, the next recourse is to fathom up a lawsuit of some kind for 'psychological damages'. Used to make fun of the frivolous lawsuit brigade back in the UK, but unfortunately it seems to be the only way anything ever gets done in NYC.

  5. The Harlem Dirt Bike thing is a culture at least 2 generations old. I've been seeing them since the mid-90's. They also have several videos of themselves doing their thing on Youtube. They also don't just 'zoom down the street' and pop wheelies. They drive the wrong way against traffic, on sidewalks, use ATV 4 wheel vehicles, etc.

    No helmets, license, reg. or insurance they are a public hazard - the NYPD knows this....and little different than a person with a hang gun waving it walking down the street.

    This is part of the legacy of Harlem alive today. Historically a measure of Black on Black crime was acceptable with the NYPD, you could not count on the NYPD for anything, not even 911. Blacks in Harlem are used to seeing the NYPD not enforce law. Drugs, prostitution, we are used to seeing the decay of the community due to the NYPD not doing anything in the face of clear lawlessness.

    Welcome to the 'hood. This would not last 1 hour on the UES and we all know this. I've seen several "near hits" with old folks and people with baby strollers, it's only a matter of time before they kill someone. It's a foreseeable accepted hazard in the view of the NYPD of living in Harlem.

  6. three times this summer I've seen groups of at least 50 if not more bikers grumble down Adam Clayton Powell at 116th. There are always guys buzzing around on pocket rockets, but the big gatherings with 4 wheelers and dirt bikes are the true sight to see.

  7. Where we live a couple of guys ride their motorbikes around in the schoolyard across the street AND give little kids rides and pop wheelies with the helmetless children aboard. Needless to say there is not a parent or guardian around to protest. Calls to 311, 911, and the Board of Ed have made no difference.
    The police said they were going to crack down on this and other bike issues at the last 28th precinct community meeting before hiatus but obviously they haven't. They do know that the bikes are stored up in the Bronx but I don't know what legal action they can take on that. I guess the police have been pretty busy this summer with all the gun violence up here.

  8. Last week I was in a cab going up 1st Ave around 115th and was riding behind a kid on a dirt bike who chose to pop a wheelie right at the intersection. He just so happened to have done it smack in front of a police car waiting at the red light. My initial thought was "oh man, you are so ride is over."

    But that moment of relish quickly turned into anger when the cops chose to fully ignore it and instead turn in the opposite direction. I was fuming because the kid wasn't going fast at all. He was cruising thereafter like he owned the streets (which he did) and any half-assed turtle pace attempt to pull him over is all it would have taken. No high speed chase, no speeding and it was the daytime where there was a decent amount of traffic flow.

    So, yes. Welcome to the 'hood, there's definitely a load of stuff people can get away with here that they would ever get away with were it the Upper East Side. There's one thing for sure though, neighborhoods like the Upper East Side don't have the "don't snitch" mentality and 911 would be flooded with calls complaining about what here is viewed by many as innocent fun and recreation. That's the difference.

    So in addition to the "don't snitch" mentality you have a community who historically, like Reynolds pointed out, never got adequate response when they did reach out. So, some communities may be weary of taking the necessary steps to get things done because of how often their complaints have fallen on deaf ears and they've taken a shrug-your-shoulders/things aint ever gonna change approach and have given up.

    Lately, more and more Harlem communities that have experienced past gaps in NYPD services are slowly acknowledging that it takes a concerted effort on the part of everyone to make a difference, specifically when it comes to guiding impressionable youth. But how do we get the sperm donor dads who are absent for most of their children's lives as they spend most of the day and night hanging out at the corner bodega, to participate? How do we get the foul-mouthed high strung mother who doesn't give a shit about where and with whom her child is hangint out with at night - to actually care about her community?

    The issue is that there are a lot of bad apples to have to spit shine in this beautiful and unique Harlem town before real consistent improvements can happen. I believe we're well on our way but it's a never ending endeavor.

  9. On day this summer I saw a gang of these teenage unlicensed dirt bikers riding and pulling wheelies on the sidewalks of West 145th Street. One bike almost his a baby stroller and the mother was visibly upset.

    Parked right at the intersection was a police car viewing the whole thing. I practically screamed at them to track these idiot kids down and arrest them.

    They said they are told to do nothing since it would be dangerous to give chase and if one of the morons fell off their bike, there would be a riot.

    Ridiculous. The Community and elected officials need to pass a law which bans these vehicles and give police the power to confiscate them.

    Parents of these kids need to be accountable and arrested if their kids are found on these bikes. period. It is a public safety issue.

  10. Not kids in my neighbourhood. Young men.

  11. Sanou, they're not men if they're
    riding these toys. Men are too busy working trying to provide for their families.

  12. Just chronological. But past the point where their parents be held be held accountable as suggested by Fedupwithdirtbikes. That ship already sailed.