ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — ATVs and motorized bikes used illegally and dangerously by riders on city streets have become a worsening problem in several Rockford neighborhoods.
“I saw a 4-year-old on a bike the other day, with no helmet, and the guy was just tearing down the street,” said Vickie Fogel, President of the North End Square Neighborhood Association. “Why would you put your life in danger, running stop signs, not evening looking, not slowing down, just blowing right through them?”
Rockford’s Police Community Service Officer, Matthew Williams, said last year that the police department knows this is happening.
“They’re riding in a pack, they’re riding recklessly, very dangerously, causing unnecessary risk to innocent bystanders or people that are coming and going to work,” Williams said. “Then, they’re riding through people’s property, causing a lot of damage, doing wheelies down the middle of the street. They’re just not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”
“I think they’re going to get someone injured or killed, but there is little we can do that’s been effective thus far,” said Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara.
Driving on city streets in an ATV is illegal. Earlier this year, the Rockford Police Department made an appeal to the public to report the bad behavior.
“We would appreciate any information, such as where they reside at, so we know, in these particular neighborhoods, and they leave their residences, that neighbors see where they are coming from, where they are storing it, who they are, who their associates are. That way, we can follow up on that end of it,” said Interim Rockford Police Chief Randy Berke.
Fogel said she’s optimistic people will step up and help avoid a tragedy.
“If you report it, your name is not going to be released to these folks. That’s not what the police are out to do,” she said. “The police are out to resolve the problem and make your life and my life better, and put more safety back into our neighborhood. I just pray to God that it doesn’t happen, that it ends in death, and it could, from what I’ve seen.”
Police encourage residents to speak with their local aldermen and contact police directly.