Police and legislators are having problems finding ways to solve this issue.
A video gaining popularity on an Atlanta, Georgia-focused section of Reddit documents what appears to be hundreds of ATV and dirt bike riders blatantly flaunting the law by rolling through an intersection during a red light. Unfortunately, we don’t have much context for this clip, and the Reddit topic doesn’t offer insight on this specific incident. It’s still shocking how many of these riders there are; they just keep coming.
Media reports from Atlanta suggest that scenes like this generally happen on Sundays, and many of these riders belong to a group called ATL Bike Life. The group asserts that it’s doing a good thing.
“We also keep a lot of people out of trouble. Like you see all these young guys right here,” an ATL Bike Life leader named Quint told the city’s WABE radio. “They look up to us. You know like, of course we’re breaking the law, but it’s better than having them going in someone’s house robbing and killing.”
Atlanta Police are having a problem cracking down on the offenders, too. Chasing the ATVs puts the riders, bystanders, and cops at risk, especially because the off-road vehicles can get places where a police cruiser can’t go.
Legislators want to increase the punishment for riding these vehicles on public roads, but police worry that the tactic isn’t effective. For example, Baltimore tried to fight a similar problem by impounding the ATVs and dirt bikes.
“They’ve had to purchase larger lots because they continue to seize these ATVs and their lots are becoming too small," Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Jeff Glazier told WABE radio about Baltimore's tactic. "So that isn’t really helping, right? So that hasn’t solved the problem."
Meanwhile, New York City responded to the issue by destroying the impounded vehicles en masse in public displays. However, that solution seems wasteful.
A suggestion to create designated off-road-riding areas in Atlanta doesn’t have support of the city council because the legislators believe that spending the money on such a site would be akin to supporting this illegal behavior rather than stopping it.
The clip above is a report from October 2016 that offers more context on this issue.