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Concerned residents speak out on dirt biking, riders say they are misunderstood

Dirt bike riders in Baltimore
Posted at 9:38 PM, Aug 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-04 23:25:20-04

BALTIMORE  — Baltimore residents are speaking against dangerous dirt bike riders speeding through city parks.

Community members say they are fearful of what could happen if it continues.

However, dirt bike rider say they have no ill intention.

Illegal dirt bike riding in Baltimore

"Dirt bikes don't bring negativity at all. Like, that's not what it stands for. It's actually a saying in the bike life community — 'Bikes brings bonds,'" said Sampson Ashby, a Baltimore City resident and dirt bike rider.

Ashby owns an urban shop called the Union Brand. It's framed around bike life unity.

He’s been riding dirt bikes since he was 4 years old.

Ashby told WMAR-2 News that riding gives city kids an outlet and offers people a way to de-stress.

"We're not trying to cause violence," Ashby said. "We do what we love. I feel like we are just misunderstood because people don't talk to us."

However, outsiders have a different opinion.

Rebecca Kunnes has been living in Baltimore, for a while, and she loves going to Patterson Park to walk her dogs, but she said lately the dirt bike riding has been unbearable and she fears for her safety.

"There's kids in the park, there's people walking their dogs," Kunnes said. "I mean, I'm afraid that someday that someone will get hit. The people in this community, we just want to keep our park beautiful."

In a statement to WMAR- 2 News, the Baltimore Police Department stated:

The Baltimore Police Department continues to address the illegal use of dirt bikes in Baltimore City. We are asking residents that if they have any information on suspects or storage locations for dirt bikes to please call, text or even send pictures to our Tip Line at 443-902-4474. Year-to-date we have seized 69 Dirt Bikes and 10 ATVs (as of July 7th).

Additionally, the department continues to educate local gas station owners on preventing illegal dirt bike fueling. Gas stations that willingly allow dirt bikes and other unregistered vehicles to fuel at their stations are subject to a $1,000.00 fine or imprisonment for no more than 90 days.

Residents can continue to call the Dirt Bike Tip Line or Call Police when they see in-progress dirt bikes riding in the city and/or fueling at gas stations.

The biking community told WMAR they dont want to impeded on anyone, but they feel, they have no where else to go.

"They don't want us to ride on the street. So, we ride in parks. But when we ride in parks its still something. Not everyone has transportation to go to Pennsylvania to ride on trails or things of that nature. So the closest thing is our closest park in the neighborhood. Were just doing what we love," Ashby said.

Community members and bike riders encourage city officials to invest in an area where people can freely enjoy dirt bike riding.