Video shows Albany police SUV knocking dirt bike rider to the ground

ALBANY — Just days after authorities announced a hotline for residents to report illegal dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets, video surfaced on social media showing a police SUV hitting the rear wheel of the dirt bike and throwing the rider to the ground.

The video was taken on Friday, March 25 by another dirt bike operator who appeared to be driving down the sidewalk to capture the scene of an Albany police vehicle with its lights flashing in close pursuit of a bicyclist ahead of come into contact with one of the three dirts. bicycles rolling on the road. The video shows the bike that was hit and its rider flipping over before coming to an abrupt stop.

“We are aware of a video taken by an individual who recklessly and illegally drove a dirt bike down a sidewalk during the Friday afternoon rush hour in West Hill, a residential area in the city of Albany,” Albany Police Officer Steve Smith said in a statement Saturday.

“As with any motor vehicle accident involving an Albany police vehicle, it is currently under investigation. No injuries were reported in the incident and the person involved immediately got into the back of another illegally driven off-road motorcycle and fled the scene.

Lukee Forbes, an Albany-based social justice activist with VOCAL NY who shared the video on his Facebook page, feared a police vehicle was chasing and hitting one of the riders.

“Yes, those bikers were 100% wrong for what they were doing with those dirt bikes, but that officer knew how he was trained and the various policies created around the handling of bikes, and that he was wrong to prosecute them,” Forbes said. “…The actions they (the police) are taking are actually harming the community instead of doing what they are supposed to do, which is keeping our community safe.”

Groups of people riding mountain bikes in residential areas of the city of Albany and other communities have attracted a lot of attention in recent years.

The Times Union reported Wednesday that the city has launched a hotline for residents to report illegal use of dirt bikes and ATVs in Albany.

In April 2021, Mayor Kathy Sheehan signed legislation that increased the cost of recovering illegal dirt bikes and ATVs seized by police to $3,000.

City police officers are not expected to chase or chase off-road cyclists to avoid collisions with other vehicles or pedestrians.

Instead, the police department uses plainclothes units to track passengers and arrest them, often as they enter a gas station. Usually riders are given tickets and their bikes are seized.

The exception is if riders have committed serious crimes or where there are concerns about accidents.

“We can’t chase these vehicles off our streets, it just adds to the instability on our streets,” Police Chief Eric Hawkins previously said on the matter. “It adds to the danger, they become even more reckless if we… chase them.”

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