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Brentwood weighs legal options after groups of teens seen riding bicycles recklessly

PIX Now Afternoon Edition 4-2-2024
PIX Now Afternoon Edition 4-2-2024 06:16

The Brentwood police chief says his department is exploring legal options to seize bicycles from teens who gather in groups and ride recklessly throughout the city.

During last week's city council meeting, Brentwood Police Chief Tim Herbert said the officers are currently only able to issue citations to kids who make it a game to ride their bikes as close to cars as they can without getting hit or inside businesses like Target or local gas stations. He hopes to work with legal counsel to draft an ordinance that would allow officers to impound bikes. 

He added that many of the kids are not from Brentwood—they're using social media to coordinate meeting locations. Herbert told a reporter during an interview after Tuesday's council meeting the teens were mostly coming from the nearby cities of Oakley and Antioch because they liked Brentwood's roads. 

Parents, he notes, are either horrified or indifferent to learn their kids are part of these groups. 

"Some just view it as kids being kids," he said. "If the parent refuses to come down and talk to their kid, we can't force them to come down. And then transporting them home for a citation isn't really legal either."

If a cyclist gets hit, the driver won't necessarily be deemed at-fault, Herbet explained.

"We look at the totality of the facts related to the incident, and the officers will determine who's at fault for the collision," he continued.

So far, the officers directed to research legal options for seizing bicycles have not found much to go on, and Herbert said the city might have to draft and approve an ordinance that would allow this confiscation of property. 

"We have not been able to find any other city that has implemented a municipal code or city policy that allows them to seize the bikes," Herbert added. "So the next process would be to work with outside counsel to try and figure out if it is even feasible by law to do it."

In the meantime, he encouraged residents to continue making reports when they see cyclists riding recklessly in the street.

Brentwood resident Alexandria Egan expressed frustration that there are multiple offenders and said their parents should receive fines. She called for the city to implement more activities for teens.

"Brentwood has always been a very family-oriented community," Egan said. "It's unfortunate that lately teenagers have been ruining it and setting bad examples for other young kids by riding their bikes irresponsibly and unsafely." 

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