Dirt bike park might be built in Baltimore

Posted at 11:49 PM, Mar 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 06:16:38-05

They've been illegally riding the streets of Baltimore for years.  You can see dirt bikers speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, and performing dangerous tricks.   

"My God sister was at the Coldspring station subway station, and while in the parking lot a dirt bike rider was doing a wheelie, and as he was doing the wheelie he hit her," Lorren Hayman said.

Allison Blanding would have turned 25 last month.  But the day after that April tragedy, the young mother died.

"When it happened it was just like, we have to figure out a way to stop this, you know, how do we stop this," Hayman said.           

But now Hayman is on board with a growing number of parents and city leaders who are looking for a solution instead.

Back in August, Baltimore City Police cracked down on the popular Sunday rides along Reisterstown Road after people in the crowd got out of control and officers responded in riot gear.        

Not long after, City Councilman William “Pete” Welch introduced a resolution to form a 17-person task force focused on the construction of a wheel park for riders.

"Where you have dirt bike riding, BMX competitions, skateboarding, remote control car competitions, anything with wheels," Welch said.

Wednesday night, a hearing was held on the resolution.

"Just because you build a park doesn't mean you're gonna stop people riding in the street," said one woman.

Right now there are no specifics about financing, or where the park would be built.

But Robert Herbert says it's the perfect thing for kids who are into motocross.

"Being in the sport, we spend so much time traveling just because there's nothing here,” he said.  “If there was something here it makes it convenient and for you to succeed in this sport, you need those elements close to you."

His son Grantley is hooked on riding.  The 14-year-old asked for his first bike when he was just six.

"He got into it by watching the guys on the street," said Herbert.

Many people at the hearing repeated the need for lawmakers to make sure the urban riders are involved in the process.  An idea Welch says he is on board with.

"It's not gonna be done in isolation, it's gonna be done with Baltimore City dirt bike riders."

Blanding's loved ones hope a safe place will mean lives saved.      

"It's a win for Allison, that's what it would mean, that another family would not have to go through the same tragedy," Hayman said.

Welch says he plans to visit two parks in New Jersey that have asphalt tracks, similar to what he thinks would work in Baltimore.     

The resolution wasn't voted on Wednesday night, Welch tells us he wants to involve local dirt bikers before that happens.