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Biker Rally, Arrests In Times Square Highlights Persistent Problem, New Yorkers Say

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- One of many rowdy elements in Times Square is getting kicked beyond the curb – various types of bikers who showboat and sometimes taunt other people.

As CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported, this past weekend was a spectacle on wheels with riders on ATVs doing donuts and dirt bikes burning out their tires.

One man said it was like the bikers are thumbing their nose at police.

"Right and they do wheelies in front of them," he said. "And you're like, what the hell? How come they don't stop this?"

But police did stop and arrest one man out of about 30 riders who brought vehicle and pedestrian traffic to a standstill with their tactics at 47th Street and Seventh Avenue around 1:40 a.m. this past Saturday.

Christian Ruiz, 22, was seen on a white motorcycle swerving in and out of traffic, stopping traffic and doing "donuts" in the street, police said.

Vehicles and pedestrians had to swerve out of the way to avoid risk of injuries, police said.

The suspect attempted to flee and almost ran over a responding police officer, police said.

"He was observed revving his motorcycle, swerving in and out of vehicular traffic and causing a danger not only to himself, my officers, but the public at large," said NYPD Capt. Robert O'Hare, head of the special Times Square unit.

Police were back tracking a group of bikers late Saturday into early Sunday, apprehending five more riders from a group allegedly driving recklessly through Times Square.

The reckless activity continued despite an ongoing NYPD crackdown that kicked off in May with the crushing of 70 illegal and unregistered motorcycles, ATVs, and dirt bikes confiscated by the NYPD.

"We want to send out a very strong message to the nitwits and knuckleheads who insist on operating these illegal vehicles on the streets," police Commissioner Bill Bratton said on May 17.

Police said they are making progress. This year to date, they have issued nearly 12,000 summonses to riders for violations including reckless driving and improper equipment – compared to just 9,182 this same time last year.

They have also seized 1,492 illegal bikes and ATVs so far this year, compared to 946 last year.

But some New Yorkers say the bikers still taunt their streets.

"I'm seeing them as usual," said Jairo Cabrera of the Bronx. "Every day, anytime, doing the same activity in the street."

"I find that it's always going to be here, and it's always going to happen," a woman said.

Some people say tougher penalties may help put the brakes on the problem.

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