Teen Death Raises Concerns Over Dirt Bikes

In the wake of the death of a 14-year-old boy, local residents share their thoughts on illegal dirt bike riding.

A local family continues to mourn the death of a teen boy who was killed Tuesday when his dirt bike collided with a car. 

Police say Jermaine Alexander, 14, made a turn while riding the dirt bike at the intersection of Frankford and Butler when he crashed into the vehicle. Alexander was pronounced dead at the scene.

Alexander’s family says they told him shortly before his death not to ride the dirt bike.

“He had a dirt bike fetish, he loved them,” said Jermaine’s aunt Jarmilla Floyd. “But we always told him to stay off of them. We tried to tell him about the danger.”

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While police say both dirt bikes and ATVs are illegal on city streets, that hasn’t stopped numerous people, including teens, from riding them. Police claim they don’t go after the riders when they spot them because it’s against department policy to chase a vehicle if they’re only committing a moving violation. They say chasing the riders could make the situation more dangerous. Local drivers say the popular practice is dangerous enough however.

“You never know if they might run into you,” said Anna Carter of North Philadelphia.

“They fly out right in front of you and you can’t even see them, you’ll run over them,” said Todd Hunt of Fishtown.

Drivers are especially wary now that the spring and summer are approaching and more dirt bike riders are expected to be seen on the streets.

“A lot of wheeling and doing the 360 skidding,” said Carter. “You never know, somebody might jump over and there are a lot of children out there. It’s very dangerous.”

So dangerous in fact that police claim doctors and nurses refer to the vehicles as “donor mobiles.” In the aftermath of his death, Alexander’s family is warning his friends to give up dirt bikes for good.

“Stay off of them, mind what your parents say,” said Floyd. “These bikes are no good.”
 

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