The City of Baltimore and its motorcyclists have long had a troubled relationship. While riding dirt bikes on Baltimore streets is in fact illegal, there is nothing that city police can do about it, and the authorities are in somewhat of an awkward juxtaposition. The grey area regarding dirt bikes stems back to a 1999 accident, when an alleged dirt bike-police cruiser chase ended in the death of the motorcyclist. Since then, police have been instructed to leave dirt bikers alone.
Baltimore's leniency on dirt bikes has led to an entire subculture in the city, where the streets are ruled at times by these illegal vehicles. Most notably, the infamous Twelve O'Clock Boyz gang, an odd group of 100 or so dirt bikers that ride the streets of Charm City when and where they want to.
Thanks to this awkward situation, Baltimore has a real problem, and it has taken multiple deaths for the issue to be noticed. Baltimore saw three dirt bike-related deaths in 2015, and several injuries already in 2016. Worst of all, the city lost one of its own, Tray Walker, to another dirt bike accident as well in South Florida.
To city councilmen Pete Welch, Carl Stokes and Brandon Scott, enough is enough. Welch and Stokes have visited neighboring cities to get ideas for a dirt bike park in Baltimore, and believe that a park is a good compromise between riders and authorities.
"We just have to realize that they’re not going to stop riding the bikes and the police can’t chase them, so we have to think of other alternatives,"
- Councilman Brandon Scott
While the wheels have already been set in motion on the project, the hope is that the unfortunate and untimely death of Walker serves as an impetus for a city in dire need of the park. Councilman Welch says that he plans to reach out to the Ravens about naming the park after Walker in tribute.
While Walker didn't play long enough to leave a legacy on the field, he will live on forever off the field in the hearts of Baltimoreans.