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Boynton Beach police issue warning to dirt bike, ATV riders ahead of MLK Day

Posted at 11:57 AM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 17:10:27-05

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla. — Just days before dozens of dirt bike and ATV riders flood the streets of South Florida as part of a dangerous holiday tradition, Boynton Beach police are sending words of warning to the community.

Every year on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, riders hit the roads for the annual "Wheels Up, Guns Down" rideout.

The speeding, swerving, and risky stunts led to dozens of arrests and citations during last year's event.

On Wednesday, Boynton Beach police reminded the public that it's against the law to ride an off-road vehicle, like dirt bikes and ATVs, on public roadways.

Just two weeks into 2020, the police department said it's already received 12 complaints from residents about dirt bike riders on public roads. In all of 2019, police received about six complaints.

Police said they're pulling over and ticketing riders who are driving off-road vehicles on public roads.

Earlier this month, a 24-year-old man was rushed to the hospital after he was struck by a car on New Year's Day while illegally riding his dirt bike, according to Boynton Beach police.

Police said Benjamin Burnton was on a 2001 Kawasaki dirt bike and traveling eastbound in the 400 block of W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd around 6 p.m.

At the same time, an 81-year-old man was driving a BMW X3 westbound and made a left turn in front of the dirt bike, colliding with it.

Burnton was thrown from his bike and was taken to a local trauma center in critical condition.

Police said Burnton's dirt bike was unregistered and didn't have any lights or turn signals. Investigators believe the 81-year-old man couldn't see the dirt bike in the dark.

The Boynton Beach Police Department warned riders on Wednesday that if you're pulled over and ticketed, your off-road vehicle may also be confiscated.