Three were arrested as a large group of riders on dirtbikes and all-terrain vehicles weaved through the streets and freeways of Miami Monday evening traveling at high rates of speed, officials said.
NBC's Chopper 6 followed the group for more than an hour as they first drove up and down NW 7th Avenue in NW Miami-Dade County. Miami police said the group started their journey after a Martin Luther King, Jr. parade in Liberty City.
Miami police said they tried to stop the group multiple times, but the riders refused. Miami police told Telemundo 51 that the group was trying to provoke authorities to chase them, but officers would not do that.
The Florida Highway Patrol said at one point there were over 500 bikers involved in the cavalcade of riders. FHP said while the group wasn’t obeying the laws, trying to stop that large of a crowd was as dangerous as the group itself.
“There was so many bikes and we can’t just chase them all. We’re not going to put our lives, their lives, and the lives of the public in danger,” said Trooper Joe Sanchez. “We take into consideration the lives of people. In this case, you have motorists out there. You have them and if we chase them, then we put everybody’s lives in danger. So we set back to monitor the situation and that was the right decision for us to take."
Sanchez said one physical arrest was made and two others were given notices to appear related to the incident.
The group traveled south on I-95 to downtown Miami before returning on the northbound lanes. The riders exited the road again and stopped at a gas station to regroup before heading northbound into Miami Gardens.
The riders were part of a group called #miamibikelife on Instagram. The event is organized through social media and some of the cyclists liken their actions to the civil rights marches of the 1960’s. Some of the riders came from as far away as Washington, DC to take part in the ride.
“My squad; we don’t take off,” said Charles Lee Ray. “We don’t want to kill ourself or another person. So we be cautious. I mean, if you catch us, you catch us. It’s a traffic charge. I mean, you going to kill someone over a traffic charge?”
At least one veteran of the Civil Rights movement, Professor Marvin Dunn, called the stunt the "dumbest way to honor the legacy" of Martin Luther King, Jr.
"If someone had asked me what is the dumbest way to honor the legacy of Dr. King, I would say, 'Get a hundred bikers, put them on I-95 at 70 miles an hour terrorizing the public.' That's the dumbest way you could possibly come up with to honor Dr. King. It was a stunt," said Professor Dunn.
At least one accident was confirmed near the intersection of 49th Street and NW 17th Avenue. The cyclist was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, but no condition has been given.
Miami police issued a statement about the incident Monday evening:
"There aren't any open charges on anyone unless independent action was taken by officers that may have stopped bikers on a traffic violation (s) and cited them. We do have a plan of action that is followed for each event that is held in the City of Miami and an after action report that is reviewed the commander of the event (sic). I am sure there will be contingency plans added to future plans of action in the event that we have this type of incident arise during one of our future events."