Over the past few months, Mayor Byron Brown and the Buffalo Police have moved to curtail illegal riding of ATVs and dirt bikes by confiscating the vehicles.
They are paying a $100 reward to those who offer information leading to a confiscated bike. Put it on the books as yet another policing policy that disproportionately targets Black and brown communities.
Police have been targeting Black and brown bike clubs around the country for the past few years as biking and ATVs have become more popular. In what has always been the rule, not the exception, policing in Buffalo is incredibly racist.
In a 2013 study, African Americans accounted for 43% of arrests while only making up 14% of the population. With the proliferation of scooters and E-bikes, it is hard to understand why there isn’t a roundup program for those unregistered and unlicensed vehicles, as scooters and E-bikes pose an even greater danger to the rider.
Most likely it is because their ridership includes white riders. The city’s roundup program is yet another targeted policing program that seeks to criminalize Black culture.
One solution that is currently being pursued in Washington, D.C., is the #BikeLife campaign focused on creating legal avenues for registration of ATVs, dirt bikes and UTVs for use on public roads. Taking existing solutions for alternative mobility, especially in communities that have less access to metro transit, would be an empowering step.