For the third year in a row, dozens of ATV and off-road motorcycle riders took to the streets Monday for the annual Wheels Up, Guns Down ride tied to Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Traffic came to halt throughout South Florida as riders sped through red lights, popped wheelies and weaved in and out of traffic.
The Florida Highway Patrol said Monday that one motorcyclist — who was part of a larger group of ATV riders — was critically injured when he crashed into a pickup truck at about 5 p.m. on Northwest 27th Avenue and 167th Street. Late Monday night, Miami police responded to a fatality involving a dirt bike at Northwest Sixth Avenue and Northwest 54th Street, police said.
According to police, a dirt bike collided with a Toyota Camry in the intersection. The dirt bike did not have lights and the driver of the Camry didn’t see the bike, said Christopher Bess, a spokesman for Miami police. The critically injured rider, who police identified as 25-year-old Javis Charles, was taking to Ryder Trauma Center where he died.
The accidents came one day after an ATV rider was killed when he either lost control of his vehicle or crashed into another off-road motorcycle rider and was thrown on the Palmetto Expressway.
Despite the accidents, FHP Lt. Yosdany Veloz said Monday’s ride “wasn’t as bad as last year.” Veloz said by 6 p.m., troopers had made one arrest, impounded one ATV and seized one firearm.
Last week, law enforcement officials warned riders that there will be zero tolerance when it comes to breaking traffic laws. ATVs are not allowed on public roads.
News cameras captured riders on Northwest 27th Avenue, Northwest Seventh Avenue and U.S. 441. Dozens of riders were also spotted on Pembroke Road, where a number of police cars tried to block their path near North Perry Airport, according to the Sun Sentinel.
In Miami-Dade County, police said by about 7:30 p.m. Monday there had been nine arrests, two firearms recovered, 33 ATV/motorcycles towed and five cars impounded. Hollywood police said they had made more than a half-dozen arrests and confiscated more than 10 off-road vehicles Monday.
“Our primary concern is the safety of our residents on the roadways,” Miami-Dade Detective Alvaro Zabaleta said. “Individuals that choose to act in a reckless manner put those commuters in danger. Therefore, we will do everything we can to stop the criminal behavior in the safest manner possible.”