Three-wheeled all-terrain vehicles roaring down the Lynnway. A dirt bike growling around the Highlands. Men riding miniature motorcycles that look like they were surplused from a three-ring circus act.
It’s almost summer and with the hot weather seems to come all manner of lunatic riding on all manner of unsafe conveyance. The police in Lynn and other communities are cracking down on these self-styled road warriors by urging the public to report any sightings of motorized mad men treating the public ways like a closed circuit racecourse.
For the cynics who suggest the police have better things to do than track down dirt bikers, here’s food for thought: The seemingly harmless pastime of roaring around a neighborhood or down a street on an all-terrain vehicle or off-road motorcycle makes sense right to the point where a child is killed or hurt or a serious vehicle accident occurs.
Let’s face facts: Lynn and similar older cities across the state, especially ones around Boston, reached maximum traffic capacity for the streets and roads years ago. Cars parked on both sides of many local side streets reduce what was once two-way traffic to two-way-but-you-have-to-wait-your-turn traffic.
Even major thoroughfares and cross streets are packed with traffic. Try negotiating Lynnfield Street in the vicinity of Goodwin Circle on a weekday evening. Good luck getting down Walnut Street with any degree of speed on a weekday morning.
Cars are the convenience that is now teetering on the precipice of inconvenience. Many area households own a couple of cars but getting anywhere in one of them is getting harder and harder.
Before anyone raises the bicycle banner, let’s remember our motorized society is barely standing on the doorstep of a transportation system that balances the safety and ease of movement of bicyclists with drivers.
To make streets safer for every transportation mode, it’s necessary to remove the most unsafe elements, starting with joyriders. It’s aggravating enough to inch along in traffic without having to worry about flattening someone on a dirt bike.
The police are asking for help from the driving public to identify people who treat streets like they are their own private speedway. Let’s help them.