On January 23, the Cleveland City Council approved legislation on a 9 to 7 vote that would allow for a new $2.3 million dirt bike park to be built in the city. While the proposed project is controversial, it could potentially help combat youth violence, say members that support the bill.
Baltimore’s “12 O’Clock Boys” are constantly riding at high speeds in restricted areas, prompting citizens to file complaints with the police department. Police have been forced to crackdown on illegal dirt bike riding in the city. In February, police arrested Dawayne Davis, “godfather of the 12 O’Clock Boys”, who maintains a “chop shop” for disassembling dirt bikes for the sold purpose of selling them as replacement parts, according to the arrest report.
Some skeptics question whether the riders will utilize the dirt track, since they are familiar with only asphalt surfaces. However, Cleveland lawmakers have taken care of this issue, by adding an asphalt strip, alongside the dirt track. Many people think that the sport should be decriminalized, since it is part of a growing culture.
The Cleveland dirt bike track could be a model for all cities that are dealing with reckless dirt bike riding through residential neighborhoods and highways. In 2013, Baltimore police department said an estimated 29 percent of seized dirt bikes are stolen. Bikes that are not stolen are eventually returned to the owner after proof of ownership is verified. Unclaimed dirt bikes are destroyed, according to the Baltimore police department.
City leaders continue to debate the issue, but many question whether a new dirt bike park would take the riders off the streets.