MLK Rideout

Cops Preparing to Crack Down on MLK Day Rideout in South Florida

South Florida law enforcement agencies will once again be cracking down on ATV and dirt bike riders who participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend rideout.

The rideout, also called "Wheels Up Guns Down," has become popular in recent years, but authorities said they're breaking the law.

"We have a group that has elected to come out here under the premise of 'Wheels Up, Guns Down' and wreak havoc amongst this community," Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said Wednesday. "They do so by riding ATVs and vehicles in a reckless manner, they do it with knowledge and intent that their activities are unsanctioned and illegal, and they do so repeatedly with total disregard for this public’s safety. And that’s where we draw the line in the sand."

This year, Tony and the Florida Highway Patrol are pushing for bipartisan legislation seeking stiffer penalties for the riders.

"Basically it’s to address the issue of organized riders, groups coming together to disrupt traffic, to block traffic," Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Robert Chandler said.

While legislation won't impact this holiday weekend, officers will be monitoring roadways from the ground, in the air and while undercover.

"If you find yourself in traffic while these daredevils and reckless individuals are driving by, we want you to come to a halt, we want you to pull off to the side of the road and let us do our job," Tony said.

Chandler said officers won't get into pursuits with reckless riders, and noted that it wasn't a very big issue last year, possibly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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