York City Police take aim at illegal dirt-bike riders

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

As the weather warms, troublemakers on two wheels gear up to illegally race around York City streets on dirt bikes.

But York City Police hope to put the brakes on those rowdy riders with the help of residents.

York City Police made arrests in 2016 after citizens complained of young men riding unlicensed dirt bikes and ATVs through York City and harassing citizens.

Police are asking that citizens alert them when they see dirt bikes, ATVs and other off-road vehicles being driven on York City streets.

Residents should call 911 right away if they believe the public is in danger from such riders or if their property was damaged, according to a news release from Philip Given, York City Mayor Michael Helfrich's chief of staff.

They're also asking people to send photos and other identifying information, including specific locations and times, to dirtbikeinfo@yorkcity.org.

Police will compile that information and whenever possible arrest both the riders and the owners of the offending dirt bikes and ATVs, according to the news release.

The topic of dirt bikes on city streets came up Saturday, April 14, at I-ron-ic Art Boutique and Coffee Café, where York City interim Police Chief Troy Bankert and others met with the public for the department's first Coffee with a Cop event.

'Increasing' problem: Two York City residents spoke about what they said is the increasing problem of people racing motorcycles and dirt bikes on city streets.

Bankert said his officers rarely pursue motorcycles because they're almost impossible to catch and chasing them encourages them to drive even more dangerously, resulting in the greater likelihood of an accident.

"It's a nuisance," he said. "We just want them to be safe and not bother the traffic."

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Sgt. Roger Nestor said officers can view surveillance video to try to identify the riders driving recklessly, who he said are typically teens.

Nestor said police spoke to the parents of a teen who was seen riding dangerously in a parking lot. A few days later, the teen died in a motorcycle crash, he said.

Masked riders: In the summer of 2016, York City Police arrested several young men for allegedly riding dirt bikes on city streets.

The arrests came after residents complained on social media that a "gang" of men on motor bikes and an ATV terrorized residents and nearly caused crashes while wearing bandannas over their faces.

Anyone with information or photos of people illegally riding off-road vehicles on York City streets is asked to send what they have to dirtbikeinfo@yorkcity.org.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.