I am 64 years old and a lifelong Baltimore resident. I was dismayed and angered when I read D. Watkins' commentary, "Street riding is a Baltimore art form" (Sept. 26).

Dirt bike riding in Baltimore is not an art form. It is one of our city's illegal activities that is a menace and reduces our quality of life. Mr. Watkins is correct: The "roar" of the dirt bikes is "familiar to any Baltimore resident." However, it's not "a good roar." Their unbearable noise disturbs the peace at all hours.


Dirt bike riders on Baltimore's streets are a danger to themselves, pedestrians and legal drivers. Reckless dirt bikers often cause injury to themselves and others. They have caused many accidents as drivers try to avoid hitting them. Many dirt bike riders and pedestrians were injured during the past few years. Most of these victims were never featured in The Sun.

Three city victims made recent news headlines. First, an innocent young lady was struck and killed by a dirt bike rider while she walked in the Metro parking lot. Secondly, a small child was critically injured and rushed to Shock Trauma after being struck by a dirt bike in Cherry Hill.

No one has been brought to justice. The dirt bike riders know who the caused these tragedies but their confused "Stop Snitching" mindset prevents them turning in the perpetrators. Dirt bike riders always speed away from their accident scenes. They never stop to render any aid to their victims or call an ambulance. Other dirt bike crimes also remain unsolved. Dirt bikers frequently damage other people's cars and property and flee the scene. However, they are never held accountable.

The third victim was a 16-year-old dirt bike rider who was killed in a collision with a car at North and Payson. Unfortunately, he is not the first dirt bike rider to die in such fashion. Nor will he be the last one to die ("Man, 27, on dirt bike killed in crash," Sept. 17) unless Baltimore enforces the law and puts an end to illegal dirt bike riding.

Mr. Watkins' article follows a 22-year-long assault on Baltimore's public image, starting with "Homicide: Life on the Street" (which premiered in 1993) and "The Wire." Our city became internationally known for murder and drug dealing. Now, we are also notorious for dirt bikes since the release of the documentary, "12 O'Clock Boys."

Mr. Watkins romanticizes and glorifies illegal and deadly activity. The Sun allowed him to throw more fuel on the firestorm of bad publicity about Baltimore following the Freddie Gray tragedy. It's no surprise that people continue to move out of Baltimore and the city has difficulty attracting new residents, businesses and conventions. Mike Rowe says that it will take over $100 million to restore Baltimore's good public relations image.

The Sun is Baltimore's only daily newspaper. You do not have to be a cheerleader for our city, but you should not give a platform to people who promote illegal, dangerous activity and help spread negative publicity.

Andrew Thomas Coplin, Baltimore