First event to keep dirt bike riders off streets kicks off in Cleveland

CLEVELAND -- About ten or so dirt bike riders showed up at the Municipal Lot Saturday at noon for the first of several family-friendly events to keep dirt bike riders off Cleveland’s streets.

Cleveland drivers are used to hearing the sound of the dirt bikes revving their engines in packs down city streets. In May of 2017 the police department and mayor announced they were working on a solution for the problem, which in some cases became destructive.

One year later the city, the Greater Cleveland Sports Alliance and the Bob Burton Foundation have teamed up to give riders an alternative (and free) location to ride and practice their tricks.

The Municipal Lot hosted a group of riders Saturday. Among them was Eben Reed, who has been riding street and dirt bikes for 15 years.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the kids to get off the streets and everybody else who they say they are illegal rides,” he said. Reed also said it was a good idea to give riders a safe place to ride away from traffic.

Johnnie Burton is the Founder and CEO of the Bob Burton Foundation, which seeks to bridge the gap between the dirt bike community and local government and law enforcement.

“What we’re trying to do is just showcase more of the talent and the human side of who these people are, you know, all these guys are not hooligans,” Burton said.

The organization also promotes safe riding and helps riders get their bikes registered for legal road use.

Burton says young riders like to not only get a thrill on their bikes, but attention, and having spectators at the Municipal Lot will help attract more of them away from the streets.

“Showcase their talent, but in a safer way so people who may have had a negative opinion in the past get to see that coming down here you know that these guys are actually talented,” he said.

There will be 12 events at the Municipal Lot this summer for dirt bike riders and spectators.