Police target dirt-bike riders

Some of the numerous dirt bikes police impounded over the past year. Image supplied

Police have charged more than 130 people and impounded almost 100 dirt bikes and vehicles following an operation targeting illegal street racing activity in areas including east Auckland.

The year-long ‘Operation Whakatika’ was launched at the start of 2021 to investigate reported offending in the Counties Manukau Police district by dirt bike riders and illegal street racers.

Police worked to follow up reports of dirt bike and street racing offending, investigate complaints and obtain evidence to identify and locate suspects with the aim of “prosecuting or fining and impounding their vehicles and bikes”.

As a result of that work, 59 dirt bikes and 39 vehicles have been impounded, with 88 people arrested and charged over illegal dirt bike activity.

An additional 44 arrests or charges have resulted in connection to illegal street racing activity for offences such as dangerous driving and sustained loss of traction.

More than 160 infringement notices have been issued for dirt bike activity and 579 infringements were issued for illegal street racing.

Almost 2500 vehicles were stopped and inspected over the year as part of the operation.

Counties Manukau Police district prevention manager, Inspector Jared Pirret, says the officers involved have done an “outstanding job of identifying and taking follow-up action against offending riders and drivers.

“We know our community gets frustrated at the dangerous and often brazen antics by dirt bike riders and street racers,” he says.

“Often when police are notified at the time to these types of reports, we are not in a position to immediately intervene as it creates significant safety risks for those involved as well as other innocent road users.

“While we may not be able to take immediate action at the time for safety reasons, we want to reassure the community we take this offending seriously, and we have a team working hard to identify and locate offenders and impound their bikes or vehicles.”

Police also recovered 25 stolen vehicles as a result of enquiries, while three riders had their licences suspended and 53 people were forbidden from riding.

The Times reported last year when six men were arrested after allegedly taking part in a disruptive large group dirt bike ride through east Auckland.

Ten dirt bikes were seized or impounded and numerous infringement notices were issued following the incident on April 3.

Three arrests were made for operating a vehicle in a dangerous manner.

Two were for failing to stop and dangerous driving offences, while one of the people arrested was a disqualified driver.

The Times observed the group of dirt bike riders travel down Harris Road in East Tamaki at about 12.40pm and turn left into Ti Rakau Drive heading toward Pakuranga.

Many of the riders were not wearing helmets, as required by law.

One rider was observed performing a wheelie, riding solely on the bike’s rear wheel, for about 30 seconds along Ti Rakau Drive.

Another rider placed both of his feet on the dirt bike’s seat and then stood up before performing a long wheelie.

Police said at the time the men involved in the group ride “showed a complete disregard for other motorists and placed themselves and others at risk”.