Dirt bikes and ATVs in city streets in Hagerstown are incredibly dangerous

HAGERSTOWN – Hagerstown Mayor and City Council had a work session Tuesday and Police Chief Paul Kifer discussed the serious issue of dirt bikes and ATVs being ridden in city streets.

Numerous young people are riding these vehicles on sidewalks as well as the wrong way down one way streets, creating havoc for residents and motorists alike.

Wes Decker, Communications Officer for the City of Hagerstown, talked with Pat Ryan and Michele Jansen on First News this morning about the issue.

One video from the city’s camera system shows 14 dirt bikes and ATVs being ridden on the sidewalk, all at one time.

Kifer used a power point presentation to show what’s been happening and how the police are attempting to handle the situation. He made a point to say the police will not chase the individuals because doing so would increase safety concerns for all involved.

Instead, the Hagerstown Police Department is asking residents to take video of the bikes as well as the riders for identification purposes.

Thirty calls came into the station on one particular incident alone, but it’s difficult for police to get there in time.

Police will use drones as well as city cameras in an effort to identify the perpetrators.

Citizens are also encouraged to use the See It, Say It, Send It app for their smart phones.  

At this point, riding on the sidewalks would be a traffic violation, but if lines continue to be stepped over, it could lead to criminal charges.

Decker said, “Everyone is just super frustrated with it right now. It’s a terrorizing thing to have upwards of 14 of these involved in one particular incident.”

At some point, someone is going to get hurt.

Ryan pointed out that in Chambersburg, Police Chief Camacho asked for people who have Ring doorbells to let the police know so if they need a resource, they could call to get some information.

Decker said Police Chief Kifer was “really encouraging everyone to do things similar to that in order to take back the community. It’s up to the citizens to help the police.”

Jansen added, “This seems like a growing problem, even a menacing problem. There have been crimes committed by people using such vehicles in Philadelphia. One solution is increasing the fines.”

A major issue with the fines is catching the riders.

Decker pointed out, “Some look like they’re less than 10 years old. Something needs to be done in terms of being able to get the parents involved. They’re not worried about their safety or others.”

Ryan suggested, “How about we put mommy and daddy up there as well? Oh, your darling 10-year-old is doing this? We can’t put your kid’s face up there, how about you, mom and dad? Holding people accountable. Good grief. This should not be happening in this day and age.”