Memphis police to crack down on ATVs on city streets

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis police reported receiving numerous complaints about illegal dirt bikes and ATVs traveling on city streets.

Officers said it becomes more of a trend during the warmer months. In response, MPD will increase patrols to address the illegal use of ATVS.

“If they’re not registered, they can’t be on the streets of Memphis. They’re made to be ridden on off-roads,” Col. Paul Wright said.

MPD said it’s noticed an increase in large groups illegally riding, especially in the downtown area.

Problem areas are in Tom Lee Park and Martin Luther King Riverside Park, among other places. Officers will increase presence in known problem areas

Penalties can be from a misdemeanor to felony, or citation

“There are a lot of issues with them riding in large groups. Some seem to think it’s OK to get in the roadway and ride in large groups but that’s not the proper way to ride,” Wright said.

Court documents show an example of that, with Lee Gathings and Demarcus Hodges arrested after riding an ATV in a large group downtown.

According to the arrest affidavit, the men were in the area of Union Avenue “driving at a high rate of speed through crowded streets, popping wheelies and performing donuts in the middle of crowded streets.”

“You’re putting other motorists’ at risk and you’re actually slowing down the flow of traffic on a public roadway,” Wright said.

MPD is asking for people in the community to call 901-545-COPS if they see this kind of illegal activity happening.

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