Police Trying New Approach To Stop Dangerous Stunt Riders

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-- As many as 1700 motorcycle stunt riders will converge on St. Louis this weekend for a series of wild highway rides that police call dangerous, reckless, and illegal.  The Streetfighterz Ride of the Century draws riders from all over the country who perform outrageous stunt on their motorcycles in traffic at highway speeds.

The group held its ride here last year, too, and police admit they were not ready for it.  St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch told an afternoon news conference that they simply didn’t know the group was coming, and it overwhelmed 911 dispatchers with calls about the highway antics.  

This year, police promise plenty of extra officers on the roads, and Friday there was another preview of their strategy.  Dozens of members of the group arrived at their south county hotel after a ride, and were being tailed by at least eight county police vehicles.  

At least one arrest was made Friday night after a reported wreck on Interstate 55.  Cops say they will make arrests, give tickets, and they’ve got one other strategy as well.

“We have developed a letter that we are going to send to the insurance companies of these riders and we're going to notify the insurance companies directly of the dangerous behavior that these individuals are involved in,” Fitch said.

The riders, however, say they will not be deterred.  Wesley Carroll says he came from south of Nashville for a reason: to ride.

“We’re going to.  I mean, I didn’t drive from Tennessee not to do this and that’s the way it’s pretty much gonna be.”  

He says the safety issue is being overblown by police.

“Ya know, I respect the law, and I don’t want to endanger anybody’s life.  At the same time the only person that’s really in danger is the riders. If you hit a car, there’s plenty of protection in that car.”

He says he’s lost friends, young men killed in motorcycle crashes over the years.  That said, why take the risk?

“God gave me a talent,” Carroll said.  “Why not use it?”

Police say if you encounter any of the packs of bikes over the weekend, simply give them space and be careful.  They also urge drivers to call 911 if they see dangerous behavior.    

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