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With warm weather, Philadelphia police confiscate nearly 20 ATVs, dirt bikes

Philadelphia sees increase in ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets with warm weather
Philadelphia sees increase in ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets with warm weather 02:25

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's a familiar scene in many Philadelphia neighborhoods: Dozens of ATV and dirt bike riders on city streets, speeding, popping wheelies and swerving in and out of traffic.

"To see people doing wheelies around the square, it really is crazy," Philadelphia resident Joel Blatt said. 

Blatt calls the antics dangerous. He said he sees them frequently because he and his wife live near City Hall, where the riders often pass by.

"There's noise at 2 or 3 in the morning, it's incredibly stupid for a city to allow that to happen," he said. 

The Philadelphia Police Department recently announced they are increasing manpower on the weekends, partly to crack down on the illegal use of ATVs and dirt bikes on city streets.


On Sunday, Philly police said 18 ATVs and dirt bikes were confiscated, one person was arrested for assault and nearly 20 traffic and parking violations were handed out in connection with illegal riding.  

A CBS News Philadelphia photographer was rolling while police impounded at least four on Sunday. Police said the majority of the confiscated bikes get destroyed.

The crackdown is a directive from Mayor Cherelle Parker, who said she is making quality-of-life crimes a top priority. Many people said the issue needs to be addressed, but some don't see it as a huge issue.

"When they are just swerving, it's very dangerous. It frightens the drivers because you don't know to get out of their way, to mind your own business and hope they don't hit you," Daria Allen said. "It's just very disturbing."

"I don't think too bad of it," Jaimi Bellot said. "I can see other people thinking it's annoying. Me, myself, I kind of want to own an ATV one of these days, but I wouldn't drive it in the city." 

RELATED: Bensalem police taking zero-tolerance stance on illegal ATVs, dirt bikes

"For me, it doesn't really affect me personally," said Alec Beiswinger, who is a former Temple University student. 

But for Blatt, it's an issue that literally keeps him up at night. He's hoping the city does more to address what he thinks is a problem.

"And for a city that depends on tourism, it's absolutely insane to let that happen," Blatt said. 

For the city, addressing this issue isn't simple because police department policy doesn't allow officers to chase the riders. But by ramping up enforcement, police are hoping it will set a tone that they will no longer let it fly.

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