Seemingly tapping into his inner child, Mayor Bill de Blasio eagerly gave the signal Thursday afternoon to two waiting bulldozer operators with their sights set on a row of seized dirt bikes on Staten Island.
“Let’s crush these things now!” de Blasio exclaimed, waving his hand at the operators to get moving. They sent the bulldozers rumbling forward, and within minutes, the two 17,000-pound earth-movers laid waste to the illegal dirt bikes and ATVs — mangling them beneath their wheels into a linear heap of twisted metal and warped rubber.
The Sept. 16 spectacle at Fresh Kills Plant 1 sent the city’s latest visual message to illegal vehicle operators across the Five Boroughs: If the NYPD catches you operating dirt bikes and ATVs on the city streets, they’ll take them away — and obliterate them.
“These dirt bikes are dangerous. They can endanger the lives of the people around them — anyone in the neighborhood,” de Blasio said. “We need to make clear that we’re just not going to tolerate this kind of illegality, and here’s a very visual way to get our point across.”
The illegal dirt bikes and ATVs crushed on Thursday afternoon were seized from points across Staten Island through vehicular stops and investigations that police conducted. Many of them were confiscated through tips provided by local residents, according to Deputy Inspector Charles McEvoy, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Staten Island.
“Those who live and work here have rightfully voiced concerns about the dangerous use of illegal motorbikes on our public roads,” McEvoy said. “The NYPD is listening and focused on stopping these bikes. While officers won’t chase these riders through the streets, we will be at the locations where the congregate, safely stopping them and using information to seize these bikes if illegally stored.”
These seize-and-destroy operations aren’t limited to Staten Island. Robert Martinez, deputy commissioner of support services for the NYPD, noted that the NYPD crushes hundreds of illegal bikes every year across the city, taking off the streets dangerous devices that lack the proper safety mechanisms (i.e. signals, mirrors and brake lights) to protect drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.
“The message here today is that the NYPD and the communities that we care about and serve will not put up with it any longer,” Martinez said, “and we will continue to be relentless in taking these bikes off the streets.”
The mayor expressed confidence, and glee, that the NYPD — along with the public — will continue its work in literally crushing the illegal bike problem in the city.
“We need the good people of this city to give us the information. We need people to call in those reports, because that’s the best way for us to act,” de Blasio said. “We take this really, really seriously. And there are some problems that are tough to overcome — and there are other problems that you can smash and you can crush. And this is one of them.”
This story appears courtesy of our sister publication amNewYork.