ATV’s and motorcycles are taking over the streets of South Florida for yet another year.
The official “Wheels Up, Guns Down” event begins on Monday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But riders started taking to the streets on Friday and have been spotted throughout the weekend across South Florida.
The event is part of an ongoing effort to curb gun violence in South Florida neighborhoods where gun violence is prevalent.
While overall crime is down six percent in Miami-Dade, the risk of gun violence remains a reality. Students at the Bright Future School of Excellence have mixed feelings about the event.
"Everybody should not ride because my cousin died because of those. He was riding a dirt bike with his friends and they crashed,” said Javon Davis, Jr.
"It ain't safe, but everybody has different opinions. For me, it’s not safe, but they still choose to do it," said Jeremiah Mayes.
"I think the message is good," said Richard Harris. "I don’t know if the delivery of the message is great."
Officials think there should be a safer, more organized and more peaceful way to deliver the message.
“It’s sad to associate one event with the other,” said Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina, referring to the event and the MLK holiday. “By the way, in a time that we are living in right now, where we need Dr. King’s message to resonate more than ever, it’s terrible that these things have become comingled."
Since riders began taking the streets on Friday, officials have made several arrests. Miami-Dade Police said they made at least two arrests, while the Broward Sheriff’s Office has made at least eight.
Tevin Matthews, 24, was one of the people arrested after he allegedly struck a deputy with his ATV. The deputy’s injuries were not life threatening.
Police say they will track and intercept riders who drive ATVs and dirt bikes on public roads. It is illegal to drive an ATV or dirt bikes on a public road. Those who do risk arrest.