New York

Dozens of Dirt Bikes, ATVs Confiscated After Hundreds of Riders Flood New Jersey Highway

Police confiscated Dozens of dirt bikes and ATVs after hundreds of bikers flooded a busy New Jersey highway for an afternoon joyride.

Newark police officers seized the vehicles after as many as 200 dirt bikes and ATVs sped up the bustling McCarter Highway. The daredevils ran stop lights, nearly caused accidents and scared drivers like Robert Safar, who managed to catch it all on video with his cellphone.

"Honestly I'm surprised somebody wasn't hit," he said. "There were just too many moving pieces."

The NYPD says it is cracking down on illegal dirt bikes. But bikers claim their numbers are on the rise. They say street riding is a highly skilled sport just like extreme skateboarding that should be accepted as legitimate. Sarah Wallace reports.

Dirt bike and ATV rides on city streets can be as dangerous as long as the NYPD has known. The department is cracking down on illegal terrain vehicles: seizures are up 52 percent over the last year, with 1,817 off-road bikes and ATVs confiscated around the city as of October 2015, according to police officials.

There were no serious injuries reported. However, police say two squad cars were damaged deliberately by bikers as officers moved in to make arrests. Most of the bikers were from out of state, including New York, Pennsylvania and one as far south as Florida.

A dirt biker says he was critically hurt by NYPD officers during an arrest. Sarah Wallace reports.

Police told News 4 they are looking into some sort of network activated by code that gets riders together like this. Safar was a dirt biker as a teen; he says he never did anything similar to the hundreds of bikers he filmed.

"I guess they were feeling a false sense of security at the end of the day...or they just didn't care," he said.

While the NYPD has been crushing some of the bikes they've confiscated, Newark doesn't go that far. But it does ticket the riders who claim their bikes, make them get a vehicle registration and pay the towing charge — in all, a cost of several hundred dollars to joyride the streets.

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