A 16-year-old boy was injured while fleeing from Baltimore Police on a dirt bike Sunday night, when his bike was struck by a police cruiser, the police department said Monday.
After a trip to the hospital for an injury to his ankle, the teen — who was not identified — was transported to a juvenile detention facility on traffic violations charges, police said. Earlier police had charged him in relation to the bike being stolen. However, the charge was dropped after further investigation revealed a data entry error.
Police have stepped up enforcement of laws banning the operation of dirt bikes on city streets in recent weeks, including showing a heavy presence along Reisterstown Road — a favorite location for Sunday dirt bike riding in the past.
City officials, who have emphasized the need to improve the relationship between police and city residents, have also been considering developing an alternate, off-the-street space for the bikers to ride, but no option has been discussed in any detail.
Dirt bike riding in Baltimore is a decades-old tradition, but a controversial one — with some complaining about the noise, the impact on traffic and the perceived threat to safety. This year, dirt bike hit-and-runs have killed a 24-year-old woman in Cold Spring in May and critically injured a 5-year-old boy in Cherry Hill in June.
The incident Sunday night occurred after police responded to the neighborhood around City College for a report of dirt bikers riding in the area, police said. Several dirt bike riders fled the area when police arrived, including the teen, who "changed directions" multiple times before driving down an alley and attempting to stop in the 3200 block of Avon Ave., in the city's Better Waverly neighborhood, police said.
"It was at this time the officer was unable to stop his vehicle prior to it striking the dirt bike," police said. The accident occurred about 7:45 p.m.
The police vehicle did not have its lights and siren activated, police said. The dirt bike also did not have lights or safety equipment, police said.
The police Accident Investigation Unit determined the bike had been stolen in Texas in June 2007, police said.