GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Scenes of motorbikes taking over streets and even sidewalks are becoming more prevalent in downtown Grand Rapids, worrying residents who say it’s dangerous.
“Eventually someone is going to get hurt or killed and it’s only a matter of time,” said the crime prevention specialist for the West Grand Neighborhood Association, Chi Benedict.
There are efforts to stop it but so far no good solutions. Even when people call police, the bikes are gone by the time officers can get to wherever they were last seen.
Videos posted online by members of the bike groups show riders filling multiple lanes and doing wheelies or other tricks.
“I’m watching them stand on a seat, going like this down the road and I’m scared that they are going to crash and kill themselves,” Benedict said. “As a driver, I don’t want to be the person behind them to potentially run them over if they do crash.”
Sometimes the riders stop in the middle of the street for burnouts. Sometimes they drive on the sidewalk, inches from pedestrians.
The organized rides — mostly downtown on or Grand Rapids’ West Side — are advertised on Facebook just before they take off to stop police from catching up.
Stakeholders are working to find solutions. They met with the Grand Rapids Police Department Monday to talk about the problem. GRPD says videos help, but many of the riders are wearing helmets that hide their identities, so figuring out who is driving is difficult unless you catch up to them.
“It really upsets me because we got a lot of motorcyclists that are getting hurt for doing the right thing… They all need to learn how to share the road and the sidewalks and follow the law so that someone doesn’t get hurt or killed,” Benedict said.
News 8 reached out to some of the bike groups Monday for comment. They either did not reply or declined an interview.
There is another virtual meeting about the matter scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.