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B-360 planning to build dirt bike campus in Baltimore

Posted at 7:28 PM, Aug 23, 2023

BALTIMORE — Dirt bikes are now illegal for people to ride on our streets and to possess in Baltimore City.

It’s why some organizations are working to change that, and they’re empowering youth to learn about dirt bikes through STEM.

B-360 is the nonprofit who’s STEM programming teaches young people about dirt bike culture and how to maintain them.

Brittany Young, who's the founder of B-360, said her organization continues to work with other community organizations like CLIA to change the laws around dirt bike regulations in Baltimore City.

CLIA means Community Law in Action. Rashad Staton is the executive director of CLIA, a youth leadership group advocating for positive change in communities.

Staton said they’re constantly fighting to preserve and expand the culture of dirt bikes which partly originated in Baltimore.

“For some reason, there is a strong connotation, which is untrue, of connecting dirt bikes to gun possessions and connecting it to violence,” Staton said.

It’s why they’re working to change the narrative.

“Overall aim is to connect STEM education and dirt bike riding,” Staton said.

“So today, they are building like little models size dirt bikes, but they also they work to fix a real dirt bike. When you pop a wheelie, that's a physics equation. When you think about modeling and prototyping machine, none of them have thought about that before they can see it in real time,” Young said.

This summer, engineer turned teacher Brittany Young held a 3 session camp with around 420 participants. Students and young adults learned inside the classroom and on a makeshift dirt bike field.

“Our whole goal is not only show them how fun learning can be, but to make sure you have a safe, dedicated space to arrive and enjoy themselves,” Young said.

Using the camp and B-360 as a way to embrace the dirt bike culture that’s now been viewed as a crime. Due to a recent citation docket issued by States Attorney Ivan Bates, riding a dirt bike on Baltimore City streets or having possession of one is a misdemeanor offense.

“Instead of seeing it as a transportation issue, right, we have further crime and criminalized it to being a part of misdemeanor and low level offenses and I think that's the imbalance to our narrative,” Staton said.

B-360 also implements the diversion program, providing at least 20 hours of training which helps people that have been issued a citation for being caught riding a dirt bike.

“My overall goal is that by 2026, we don't need to have a diversion program. But right now, our goal is to make sure that instead of people going to jail, they can do training program with us,” Young said.

And with the collaboration between B-360, CLIA and help from state legislators, they’re striving to change the laws while they continue educating people about dirt bikes through STEM.

“Unfortunately, when you see black people gathering, you see black people congregate, you just always think we do something wrong. But I think overall, dirt bike culture has been demonized, because no one ever took the time to just say, why do you do this? Let me empathize with you,” Young said.

B-360 organizers also said the summer camp is just a prototype to a much bigger vision of a dirt bike campus they’re planning to build in Baltimore.

The first of its kind, it will attract riders from all over the world.

Organizers are looking to raise $11 million to do it, so far they received $3 million from Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen.

To learn more about B-360 and its contributions to the dirt bike community, click here.