4

Video: Hundreds of Bikers, ATV Riders Shut Down Traffic in MLK Day Protest Ride

^
Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Miami drivers are used to plenty of odd sights on I-95, but the late-afternoon holiday crowd yesterday caught an eyeful even for South Florida: hundreds of riders on dirt bikes, motorcycles, and ATVs swarming through the highway traffic, many of them popping wheelies and weaving between lanes.

Motorists and cops were outraged, but the riders say the impromptu mass journey was meant to inspire peaceful protest on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The gathering came together under the trending hashtag #BikesUpGunsDown after a popular stunt rider in Philly was murdered.

The mass ride was only loosely planned and thus caught local police and highway patrol officers by surprise. Given the size of the crowd, police decided that trying to stop the ride would risk more lives than letting it run its course, officials tell the Miami Herald this morning. (Three arrests tied to the ride were later reported.)

"We're not going to put their lives as well as other motorists' lives in danger by chasing these kids on dirt bikes and ATVs," Joe Sanchez, a Florida Highway Patrol, spokesman tells the Herald. "They basically have no respect for other motorists."

But on social media, the bikers tied their ride to a peaceful protest against violence in black neighborhoods. The movement apparently began in October in Philadelphia after 23-year-old stunt rider Kyrell Tyler was shot and killed; hundreds of bikers rode local highways after his funeral, snarling traffic and starting the #BikesUpGunsDown hashtag.

In Miami, the ride was loosely organized by a group that has sparked similar protests in other cities, and riders traveled from along the East Coast to participate.

Not everyone was buying the idea of a peaceful protest coupled with dangerous highway stunts.

But the riders also found plenty of local support in Miami, where inner-city violence has recently peaked to the point where City Commissioner Keon Hardemon has suggested using federal anti-terrorism laws to go after gang leaders.

Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.