The dirtbikes, ATVs, and motorcycles came to South Florida by the hundreds yesterday, popping wheelies and darting through traffic as they sped across Broward County and south into Miami. Police mostly left the mass ride alone as confused motorists took to social media in bafflement.
The ride wasn't a spontaneous ATV invasion, though — it was the second year running of a loosely organized MLK solidarity ride. Organized under social media hashtags such as #GunsDownBikesUp and #MLKrideout, the rides began as a protest last year after a popular dirt biker in Philadelphia was murdered.
TV helicopters hovered as hundreds of bikes came through South Florida for this year's edition of the gathering:
After last year's ride — which more or less caught police off-guard — cops in Broward and Dade were prepared this year, but mostly allowed the bikers to ride unbothered.
There were some incidents, including several arrests and at least two serious injuries to riders. (New Times has requested updated stats from local police on arrests connected to the ride; we'll update this post when we hear back.)
The ride began last year after 23-year-old Philly stunt biker Kyrell Tyler was shot and killed, and it spread down the East Coast. The message is meant to reflect the hashtag: embracing bikes over violence and crime.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Miami New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Miami's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
But based on Twitter reaction, most Miami motorists weren't feeling much solidarity with the riders:
meanwhile in miami,4 wheelers,motorcycles are on the loose, going thru red lights,driving on wrong sides, while cops watch cuz hmm i wonder— Tela Esquandolas (@telaesquandolas) January 18, 2016
Why do we allow total mayhem on our roads with #gunsdownbikesup to roam the streets putting everyone in danger? The law applies to everyone— Ginger Salem (@gingdiva) January 18, 2016