CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A WCNC Charlotte Defenders investigation is revealing exclusive new video which highlights a major problem on Charlotte streets.
For the first time, the video shows an up close look at the terrifying moments, as an ATV rider collides with a light rail train in South End in September. The rider survived the crash, but it shows the ongoing problem of vehicles illegally riding around the Queen City. As a driver, you may have seen ATV’s, dirt bikes, and even large groups of motorcycles riding around town. Now, the Defenders team is looking into the rules of the road and what our team found might surprise you. WCNC Charlotte also talked to a city council member about the issue who says he’s looking into whether new local laws are needed.
Some drivers shoot video with their phones when they see the riders making dangerous maneuvers, others call 911; the Defenders team has what you need to know about what’s legal and what’s not.
WCNC Charlotte showed some of the crazy acts caught on camera to Charlotte City Councilman Larken Egleston. He says as a driver, he’s seen the ATV and dirt bike riders firsthand.
“It’s disorienting, you've got folks who again are just completely ignoring the traffic laws,” said Councilman Egleston.
For the first time, WCNC Charlotte is revealing exclusive video showing the consequences of breaking the law in real time. It shows an ATV rider suddenly pull in front of a light rail train and ignore the crossing arm lights, before the terrifying collision.
“We heard the train screech,” a witness said.
The rider in that case survived, but within months of that incident, a dirt biker died while taking off from police.
“I do feel very badly for his family, but it's a choice,” Heather Perotti previously told WCNC Charlotte.
Officers initially responded to the scene, after Perotti called 911. She says the driver of a car associated with the group of ATV’s and dirt bikes assaulted her on the road.
“Punched me in my ear and it rang my chimes a little bit for sure,” says Perotti.
“It transitions from being stupid to being dangerous and criminal,” said Councilman Egleston while watching the WCNC Charlotte story.
However, not everything that is intimidating is necessary illegal. For example, WCNC Charlotte obtained a video showing a large group of motorcycles taking on a highway.
“The motoring public sees the motorcyclist in leathers and a helmet and in many instances is intimidated,” says attorney, Bob Karney.
However, Karney says drivers should not be intimidated. As a motorcyclist himself, he says the attire is for safety, as are some of the maneuvers that may be startling to some drivers.
“Often times they're weaving in their lane in hopes the motoring public will see them better,” says Karney.
As for the illegal vehicles, the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department urges any driver who sees an ATV to try to safely get out of the way and call 911. WCNC Charlotte asked Councilman Egleston if he think something needs to be done about the issue.
“Yeah, absolutely,” Councilman Egleston said.
Now, Councilman Egleston says he wants to take a closer look at the city council’s role.
“A deterrent could be a change in the laws, a deterrent could also be trying to engage with some of the folks who are leaders in those circles,” says Councilman Egleston. “Is there a place that they go out and do some of the stunt riding that they do in a more safe environment?.”
Councilman Egleston says he wants input from his fellow city council members on a possible solution.
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