TARPON SPRINGS, Fla. (WFLA) – Tarpon Springs police officers aren’t playing games when it comes to people illegally riding motorized vehicles on city streets and the Pinellas Trail.
The department posted on its Facebook page that the city, “is not an ATV/Motocross park and is not to be treated as such. The department went on to say that it has been receiving complaints from residents about riders whizzing through their neighborhoods.
8 On Your Side was in Tarpon Springs when officers spotted a man riding his ATV on the Pinellas Trail. They promptly stopped him. He would have simply faced a civil citation, but since he didn’t have a valid driver’s license, they arrested him and took him into custody.
Corporal John Gibson says the motorized vehicles pose a risk to pedestrians and bicyclists on the trail, and when the riders are on city streets, they are putting themselves in danger.
“It may not be something that the kids or the people riding the ATVs are doing, but they could become the victim of a crash even if it’s not their fault,” Gibson said. “They shouldn’t have been there (on the street) in the first place.”
Gibson says the department’s goal is to keep citizens safe.
“Trust me, I want them to get their four-wheelers, get their dirt bikes, and do it safely. Do it in a controlled environment,” said Gibson. “There are dirt bike tracks, things like that, or on your own property.”
A number of people who live in the city applauded the department for its actions. Franklin Lee wrote, “We live in Stonehedge and some days it sounds like Motocross on the other side of the fence.”