A growing concern for Cleveland residents is spreading all over the city — illegal dirt bike and ATVs meant for off-roading are hitting city streets and some business owners are raising concerns.
News 5 has reported on the issue plaguing the city’s east side, but business owners and residents on the west side say they’re now seeing an increase.
Cell phone video from Kamm’s Corner Sunday afternoon shows dozens of four-wheelers and dirt bikes riding through the streets.
Smedley’s Bar and Grille owner Sean Mettler said he saw at least 200 riders fly by his business, riding on sidewalks, swerving around cars, and driving into oncoming traffic.
“Kind of like anarchy out there with these kids, it’s gotta be stopped,” Mettler said. He’s owned the pub on Lorain Ave. in Kamm’s Corner for the last 17 years. “This is the first time we’ve ever seen this kind of craziness. They’re young, wanna-be thugs. Their intention is to intimidate and show force, like a wanna-be gang.”
Mettler said he called Cleveland Police Department First District, but was told their hands were tied.
“They’ve been ordered not to chase these people,” Mettler said.
Cleveland police told News 5 that their policy does not allow officers to pursue ATV or dirt bike riders in squad cars. However, a motorcycle pursuit may be authorized in certain cases. Most of the bikes are not legal to ride in city streets because motorcycles have to be equipped with proper licensing for the rider and the bike.
Herb’n Twine owner Brendan Messina posted another video of dozens of riders moving down W. 44th and Lorain Ave., right in front of his restaurant.
Messina said while he understands how other business owners find it a nuisance, the riders don’t bother him.
“As long as nobody gets hurt,” Messina added.
Cleveland police can issue citations to illegal riders. Back in June, officers conducted a major sting at Clark Field park, ticketing 25 riders and confiscating six illegal vehicles.
Mayor Frank Jackson proposed a $2.3 million dirt bike track on Cleveland’s east side to cut down on illegal dirt bike riding on city streets, but the plan has been met with opposition. Critics have said the money could be used elsewhere.