- Vanice Alexander
- A rider — not Frank Jackson — with the MPWK group.
At a press conference Tuesday morning, Mayor Frank Jackson and Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams announced that they will introduce legislation to address unlawful dirt bikes and ATV vehicles on city streets.
Specifics related to enforcement were not reported, but Jackson said that the legislation would appear before City Council prior to the legislative body's summer recess.
“I have been working closely with the Cleveland Division of Police and leaders in the bike-life community to create alternatives for street riding and ensure the safety of police officers, residents, riders and our community,” Jackson said in a press release. “This legislation is part of a comprehensive plan to keep everyone safe, educate riders and enforce laws.”
The city reported that this new legislation will include the prohibition of ATVs and unlicensed dirt bikes on "streets, sidewalks and in City Parks" and will "strengthen" penalties for violators. It will also prohibit street stunts.
“The Division of Police has been working with our law enforcement partners to construct a plan that will curb this illegal activity,” said Chief Williams. “It is our goal to move the riders off of our streets and address the issues of blocked and disrupted traffic and the concerns of residents. By educating riders and citizens and with the public's assistance, this is certainly possible.”
The City has been working with representatives from the "bike life" community for more than a year. Their joint efforts to promote legal alternatives culminated in the proposal for a dirt bike track at Marion Motley Park, a proposal that is opposed, for varying reasons, by many residents
Jackson's grandson, also named Frank Jackson, is a known dirt-bike enthusiast. He has been arrested more than once riding illegally in the streets. Some opponents have complained that Jackson wouldn't be bothering with a dirt-bike track at all if not for his personal connection. Those who support the track, like Johnnie Burton (founder of the Bob Burton Foundation, with which the city is partnering), contend that the track sends a positive message to youth and will serve as a professional development tool.