Pittsburgh launching program after crowds of ATVs, dirt bikes reported across city

PITTSBURGH — Major cities, including Pittsburgh, have been reporting large crowds of ATVs, dirt bikes and off-road vehicles riding recklessly on city streets, taking over roads and intersections, driving on sidewalks and, in many cases, even driving in the wrong direction.

Public safety officials said there have been deadly consequences in some places. In New York City, an ATV rider was hit and killed by an SUV when he drove into a crosswalk against a red light. In Pittsburgh last summer, a dirt bike rider was in a bicycle lane on Liberty Avenue when he clipped a vehicle making a turn and was thrown from the bike onto the back of a parked car.

“Participants in these so-called flash mobs or ride-outs are now taking their actions to alarming new heights in the City of Pittsburgh, with as many as 50 to 200 riders roving through neighborhoods,” city officials said in a news release.

Just this past week, police issued eight citations and towed two vehicles from a ride-out event. One of those citations was from a traffic stop where a dirt bike rider was going the wrong way toward police on North Beatty Street.

“We want the riders to be safe, as well as our officers, as well as the general public, so we will use different methods and different leads to investigate and to prosecute those that are involved in these illegal ride-outs,” Pittsburgh Police Cmdr. Eric Holmes said.

The Pittsburgh Bureau of Police, in collaboration with regional law enforcement, has devised a new program to address this issue. It involves the following:

  • Education and community outreach
  • Law enforcement collaboration
  • Investigation and enforcement

Police officials said they will utilize any available technology to stop the vehicles from driving on city streets.

Police also have an email address for the public to provide information and tips to the department: 412_TIPS@pittsburghpa.gov.