Dirt bikes and ATVs are an issue that cities have tried to tackle for years, and after many attempts to get the illegal vehicles off the street, one city in Pennsylvania is taking it up a notch.
The Reading Police Department announced their new solution: smash them.
Earlier this month, the police department posted a video on Facebook showing an excavator using its arm to crush dirt bikes from a dumpster. There's an audible crunch as it smashed two of them at once before lifting one into another dumpster.
The video has more than 111,000 views and 1,400 comments as of Tuesday morning.
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The Berks County city said the police department will continue to enforce city ordinances regarding illegal usage of dirt bikes and ATVs on Reading streets due to the hazard they pose to pedestrians and travelers, as well as being a quality of life issue.
"Police Executives (Chief) and the Administration have instructed patrol officers to engage and pursue riders driving recklessly or without apparent compliance when safe," a statement read. "To anyone seeing these images, please know that we will chase you, confiscate your bikes and crush them.”
Reading Communications Coordinator Christian Crespo said that previously, dirt bikes and ATVs ended up at the impound yard, became the property of the impound manager, resold, and ended up back on the streets. He said the new procedure ensures owners will go through the process to obtain proper documentation, and if they don't, the items won’t return to the streets.
In June of last year, Reading approved fees starting at $50 for the towing, relocation and reclaiming of ATVs and dirt bikes. It costs owners $25 per day the items are kept in city storage.
Residents online seem to be split on the city's endeavor to destroy the all-terrain vehicles and dirt bikes, even if they don't like them on their city streets.
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"Why not have a group come in and dismantle and sell the parts to help fund the PD and scrap the frame," Matt Fritz commented. Shena Garcia added, "Should auction them off and raise money for the city, shelters, schools and so on."
"Wouldn’t it be easier to provide a free place for community members to ride legally?" Facebook user Mike Mains suggested.
Sergeant Mel Fegely told Lehigh Valley Live, however, that residents who live in Reading expressed their appreciation to the department. “...For the people who live in the city here, they are overwhelmingly overjoyed that we’re taking a real stand on this. They live here. They’re the ones that are dealing with this. The decent, law-abiding citizens of the city are loving it. We’ve gotten tons of messages. Someone even made a T-shirt. ... For people who live here and deal with it, they’re thrilled that we’re smashing them.”
The city of Reading reported 37 bikes and ATVs were crushed in the video, with about 20 more in the dock. All of the items were confiscated within the past 18 months, the city said.