The NYPD seized 240 motorized dirt bikes and ATVs in one day in response to people fed up with the ear-splitting and often illegal rides, police said Tuesday.
“We hear the calls, we hear the New Yorkers and we are going to respond appropriately,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Jeffrey Maddrey said at a news conference as he stood in front of hundreds of seized bikes.
The department organized teams in each borough to hunt down the bikes, and just on Sunday cops citywide seized 240 of them.
About 150 of those bikes came from the Bronx. But bike were seized in every borough, and city residents were often “cheering the officers on” during the seizures, Maddrey said.
“We’re going to continue to remove bikes off the street and we’re going to continue to improve the quality of life of New Yorkers,” Maddrey said.
The issue extends beyond just a nuisance for motorists and pedestrians, but poses a real threat to public safety as the bikes are “quite often” used in robberies and shootings, NYPD Assistant Chief Philip Rivera said.
In Brooklyn on June 26, four people, including an 8-year-old boy, were wounded when a gunman on a dirt bike fired shots at a group enjoying a small barbecue on Quincy St. near Stuyvesant Ave. outside NYCHA’s Stuyvesant Gardens Houses in Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The gunman and another person sped away on the bike, leaving the boy with a graze wound to his left leg. A 36-year-old woman, a 27-year-old man and a 46-year-old woman were all shot in the legs.
“The residual benefits are crime fighting as well as safety,” Rivera said.
So far this year, police have confiscated about 3,000 bikes, most of which are not registered, have no vehicle identification number and are operated by reckless drivers who sometimes hop sidewalks and pop wheelies.
Police say they’ll keep working to get the illegal bikes and ATVs off the streets.
“I also called a truce,” Maddrey said. “I told people who ride these bikes, ‘If you don’t ride them, we won’t take them.’ But they didn’t hear that truce and they continued to ride, so we’ll continue to take.”