'Blatant disregard': Illegal motorcyclists take over Auckland streets

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Feb 2021, 1:22PM
Reckless dirt bike riders during the organised Waitangi Day ride seen here on Richardson Rd in Mt Roskill. Photo / Supplied
Reckless dirt bike riders during the organised Waitangi Day ride seen here on Richardson Rd in Mt Roskill. Photo / Supplied

'Blatant disregard': Illegal motorcyclists take over Auckland streets

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Mon, 8 Feb 2021, 1:22PM

Hundreds of illegal motorcyclists have been "terrifying" Auckland's streets over the weekend, pulling off death-defying stunts and even blocking off a section of motorway.

In multiple videos posted to social media a large group of riders, mostly on unregistered dirt bikes and many without helmets, can be seen on Saturday, Waitangi Day, taking over the streets around Māngere Bridge, Hillsborough and Lynfield.

In one video the group have blocked off the northwest-bound side of the Southwestern Motorway near the Hillsborough Rd exit, with riders doing burnouts blowing thick smoke through the building traffic.

Local residents say it was "terrifying" to see and has been happening with increasing frequency in the past year.

"It's amazing no one has been killed," said one Māngere Bridge resident, who declined to give their name.

Riders blocked off the Southwestern Motorway in Auckland on Saturday. Photo / SuppliedRiders blocked off the Southwestern Motorway in Auckland on Saturday. Photo / Supplied

The latest mass ride was organised for Waitangi Day and promoted through a number of social media accounts, many using the term "bikelife".

A Māngere Bridge resident who did not want to be named said part of the group had been active in the area for months.

"Everyone is asking what the police are doing about it, but they are dirt bikes so none of them is registered and some of the guys are wearing helmets so unless they catch them in the act, they have no way of finding them.

"We call the police and by the time they get there, the group is gone."

The woman had witnessed one of the group crash into the back of a stopped car and smash its rear window.

"He was able to get up and get on his bike and take off, so this person was left there with a smashed-up car and no window."

The dirt bikes have no lights but that hadn't stopped riders heading out at night.

"They are always driving around at night and it's terrifying if they come up alongside you or toward you because you don't see them until the last minute.

"They are on the wrong side of the road, doing wheel-stands, running red lights and weaving through cars, it's amazing no one has been killed."

A police spokeswoman said the officers involved were not available on Monday for comment, as it was a public holiday.

She said they were aware of the dirt bike ride involving "a large number of motorcyclists in Auckland on Saturday and were monitoring the situation".

"Many of the bikes involved are not designed to be ridden on sealed roads and the riders have shown a blatant disregard for other road users and their own safety," she said.

"Any offending identified will be followed up and investigated.

"Anyone with information that can assist identifying those involved is asked to contact police via 105 and quote event number P045406921."

She was not aware of any arrests or fines handed out on the day.

She was also not able to say if this was a one-off event or had occurring increasingly, as alleged by concerned residents and based on social media posts.

In April last year Counties Manukau police said they'd stopped nine people on dirt bikes in Aorere Park in Māngere East.

"Eight of the bikes have been ordered off the road," Sergeant Vinny Stephney, of Ōtāhuhu, said in a social media post.

"One of the bikes had previously been ordered off the road and has now been impounded.

"Police have forbidden each person from riding.

"There are serious consequences if they are caught breaching this."

text by Kirsty Wynn and Michael Neilson, NZ Herald