Nearly 24 hours after a dirt biker struck and ran over a 64-year-old Bensalem man seriously injuring him, police were investigating another incident involving an illegal dirt bike.
The male rider was seen in the township popping wheelies and running stop signs on residential streets before ignoring emergency lights of first responders headed to a house fire on Sunday, authorities said.
Bensalem police are investigating both incidents, two of the many complaints involving dirt bike riders across the township.
“It’s not only a nuisance, it’s a danger to the community and our residents,” Detective Sgt. Glenn Vandegrift said.
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The problem is not a new one for Bensalem, or surrounding communities, but the number of complaints is on track to outpace all of last year, when the township logged 75.
So far this year, the department has received 74 reports with 29 coming in since June 1, Vandegrift said.
Dirt bikes are illegal on public roads unless they are registered with the state and insured, and most of the ones Bensalem deals with aren’t street-legal, Vandegrift said.
Most incidents involve dirt bike riders illegally riding on public streets, damaging property and swarming neighborhoods, Vandegrift said.
Incidents like the road-rage-turned-aggravated assault on Aug. 5 have been rare, he added.
A preliminary investigation found the 64-year-old man and his son were traveling on Neshaminy Boulevard when there was an argument between him and two males on dirt bikes.
After the confrontation, the man got back into his car and the dirt bikers followed him. The man stopped, got out of his car, and they started arguing again.
This time one biker revved his engine before striking the man, who fell backwards and hit his head on the asphalt. The biker then revved his engine again and drove over the man’s chest while he was on the ground, Vandegrift said.
Police have released a photo of the two bikers they believe were involved in the incident, and the investigation is continuing. Police are also following up leads on the Sunday incident that started in the Eddington section.
The only other physical confrontation with a dirt bike was a few years ago in Trevose, where a resident was hit by a biker, Vandegrift said.
The Trevose area is a big hotspot for dirt bike problems, especially Grove Avenue, a residential street with no sidewalks or shoulders that dead-ends at the Hilltop Athletics Association, a 32-acre property surrounded by woods.
Over the years, police have erected barriers and blocked entrances around Grove Avenue, but it’s a difficult area to close off, Vandegrift said.
The township posted new signs on Grove Avenue warning of surveillance cameras in June as part of a new zero-tolerance policy that uses police officers on four-wheel quads to patrol the area.
Since initiating the new patrol unit, police have noticed a slight drop in complaints, and at least four bikes have been seized since.
Catching illegal dirt bike riders and motorcyclists is not easy, accident liability concerns prevent police from pursuing them on public roads, Vandegrift said.
But the police have found success with crowdsourcing in identifying illegal bikers.
Bensalem police identified an adult male biker traveling east on Street Road popping wheelies, speeding, ignoring road closures, and running red lights 15 minutes after a driver snapped a photo after the man removed his face mask at a red light on July 18.
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This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: Bensalem’s crackdown on illegal dirt bikes continues after assault