- Associated Press - Saturday, August 13, 2016

CLEVELAND (AP) - Cleveland has tabled a proposal to build a $2 million motocross track aimed at legitimizing the increasing number of dirt bike riders currently unlawfully riding on city streets and parks.

Videos shared on social media show some riders weaving in and out of traffic at high speeds.

Cleveland.com reported (https://bit.ly/2bdxj07 ) that Council President Kevin Kelly on Wednesday sent the matter to be discussed in committees following a contentious debate. Some council members questioned why the proposal received swift treatment while other parks still need repairs.

“You believe a motocross track should be a priority. I say our priorities should be to little kids who can’t use their parks,” Councilman Michael Polensek said.

Mayor Frank Jackson and Community Relations Director Blaine Griffin say feuding dirt bike riders from different areas often found common ground in riding, setting aside their differences when they’re riding.

Jackson said the track could bring disputing groups together with police and city officials and provide a positive alternative to street riding. He said many people just want to ride but have nowhere to legally do so.

Riders would also be able to learn how to fix the bikes.

Jackson said street riders have endangered themselves and been a problem for police in the past.

He said his grandson, who has been arrested twice for illegal dirt bike riding, taught him how the culture has been deeply ingrained into many people’s lives.

“He’s in love with these things,” Jackson said. “Once he got into it, I got a deep dive into seeing his friends, who he rides with. He started when he was about 17 and he was riding with guys who were 40. They treated him like he was one of them.”

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Information from: cleveland.com, https://www.cleveland.com

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