Legions of riders again took to South Florida’s roadways on Monday as part of the unsanctioned annual rite known as “Wheels Up, Guns Down” during the national holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
This time, many clogged thoroughfares while pedaling aboard bicycles.
Around mid-afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol observed an estimated 50 to 100 bicyclists traveling northbound on I-95 from State Road 112 in Miami. They reportedly exited at NW 62 Street.
Television footage from WSVN-Ch.7 showed bands of buzzing motorcycles and ATVs that have unnerved motorists in recent years heading south from Broward County into Miami-Dade shortly before 5 p.m. They were observed cutting in and out of traffic and popping wheelies.
In northeast Fort Lauderdale, motorcycles could be seen traveling south at high speeds along Federal Highway.
An unknown number of riders in Broward and Miami-Dade were reported detained by police. Officers in Miami temporarily blocked NW 62nd Street.
But the rogue event appeared to draw fewer riders across the region than in previous years.
Police agencies including the Broward Sheriff’s Office and Florida Highway Patrol vowed over the weekend to keep the riders off the roads and arrest anyone who violated traffic laws by popping wheelies, speeding, blocking lanes, riding against traffic or traveling along sidewalks.
As promised, police officers monitored entrances and exits to several major highways such as Florida’s Turnpike to ensure no riders entered. The FHP said every trooper in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties was scheduled to work Monday.