Video: ‘Let’s crush these things now!’ — Watch as bulldozers destroy dozens of illegal dirt bikes seized by NYPD

bulldozers destroy dozens of illegal dirt bikes (Mayor Bill de Blasio/Twitter screenshot)

If it seems like the NYPD has been more vigilant this year in confiscating illegal dirt bikes, authorities say it’s because the number of perpetrators has skyrocketed.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and ranking members of the NYPD held a press conference Thursday at the city’s Department of Sanitation site near Fresh Kills Park on Staten Island, where they ordered the demolition of more than 40 unregistered bikes recently seized by police.

“Anyone out there who has an illegal dirt bike, don’t even think about it,” said De Blasio said. “The NYPD will find it and will crush it.”

In the first quarter of this year, eight people reportedly have died in dirt bike or off road vehicle incidents and at least 350 were injured during the same time period.

Authorities project that by the end of the year between 2,500 to 3,000 bikes will be removed from the streets of New York City and destroyed. That’s compared to about 500 in 2020.

“This is something that’s happening in every big city,” explained Robert Martinez, deputy commissioner of the NYPD’s support services bureau. “It seems more of a cultural thing with social media, bragging points and taking videos of people are what’s really fueling this.”

In addition to the noise pollution and danger to motorists and pedestrians — including children and senior citizens— the bikes in some cases have been used to carry out shootings in parts of the city, authorities said.

And with that, De Blasio gave the order Thursday: “Let’s crush these things now!”


On Staten Island, as of early August, police had confiscated 56 illegal, motorized bikes, including 23 during a crackdown over a span of two recent weekends.

Responding to a tweet Monday by the 120th Precinct showing multiple bikes that had been confiscated, one resident commented: “I wish I could say those are the ones around me.”

Any motorized bike that lacks side mirrors, brake lights and/or turn signals is unable to be registered with New York state and therefore is unlawful to ride.

Authorities said Thursday that in some cases bikes are returned to operators if it turns out they, in fact, were registered and legal to operate. Yet sometimes it’s discovered that the bikes were stolen in order to carry out another crime. Martinez said a majority of the bikes this year have been seized in the Bronx and Manhattan.

As De Blasio surveyed the pile of twisted metal Thursday, a reporter asked what he was thinking. The mayor replied, “It’s actually quite a beautiful sight in its own way.”


In July, police said a dirt bike rider critically injured a 4-year-old boy in Queens’ Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the Daily News reported.

Police make it a policy not to chase illegal operators, as not to create more of a danger to the public. Instead, they seek out locations where bikes are stored, which authorities said Thursday in multiple cases this year has been in New York City housing projects. Officers also have been able to safely approach groups of riders at gas stations while they’re filling up.

“We will be using technology, such as cameras, at locations where riding is taking place to help identify the individuals involved so officers and detectives can take enforcement action,” said Deputy Chief Charles McEvoy, executive officer of Patrol Borough Staten Island.

When a bike is taken by police, the operator is issued a summons. Typically the cost has been about $500, though ultimately it’s up to a judge to decide the amount. City Councilman Mark Gjonaj has proposed a bill to increase the penalties for people caught driving dirt bikes and four-wheelers that are not street legal, or drag racing on city streets

Criminal charges would apply for the rider if, for example, they’re is driving recklessly down a sidewalk or carrying out a crime while on the bike.

Residents are urged to submit tips about where illegal bikes are being stored, either by phone— 1-800-577-8477 (TIPS), or 1-888-577-4782 (PISTA) for Spanish— on the Crime Stoppers website, or by texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Police say all calls are kept confidential.


(c) 2021 Staten Island Advance

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