CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s becoming a more frequent problem on Charlotte streets: Large groups of teens riding bicycles in the middle of the street bring traffic to a halt.
If you’ve lived in or around Uptown Charlotte, you’ve probably seen it: what appears to be teenagers taking over the streets, taunting drivers, and playing chicken with traffic.
“They’re doing like wheelies and stuff,” said one South End resident.
It happened last weekend as Charlotte FC fans were leaving Bank of America Stadium, and what happened next has one couple afraid to put their faces on TV.
“We saw a group of teenage bicyclers,” Mary told Queen City News adding the teens were cutting off drivers. “So, I just kind of beeped the horn,” she said.
Her fiancé Ulises said, “That’s when they just started going crazy on the car, beating on the side of the door. Trying to kick it in.”
“One kid started throwing rocks on this side,” Mary said.
A footprint is still on the side of their car, the passenger side has multiple dents, and there are chips in the paint on the driver’s side where the couple says one kid was throwing rocks. They were stuck. Sitting targets in their own car.
“You get out, you confront them?” Ulises wondered. “There was at least 10 of them.”
Mary said, “I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life. Like, who does this stuff? Like, especially kids that age,” she continued, “That one kid couldn’t have been more than… he says 11, but I think he looked more like 10 and I’m just like, ‘where are your parents?’”
What’s worse is what they say an officer told them next.
Ulises said, “We told them we wanted to press charges. We told them if we can’t press charges on them, we would like to press charges on the parents,” he continued, “We just got told that was just it. That it happens so often that there’s nothing they can do. They’ve arrested them, they’ve confiscated their bicycles but not even a few days later, they’re out, they stole another bike and they’re on the road again.”
They’re not the only ones this has happened to. One DoorDash driver says a bicycle gang hit her car too.
“They were banging on my car,” said Monique Watson. “I have kids in my car, and I didn’t like that. They didn’t like that.”
Although Uptown and South End are pedestrian-friendly, some are wondering how welcoming the area really is.
“We personally don’t want to come back down here,” Mary said. “I’d rather go somewhere else. We spend plenty of money down here. We don’t have to. We can go somewhere else.”
Queen City News reached out to both CMPD and the district attorney. The DA’s office says they really don’t have a mechanism in place to track cases involving people on bicycles. CMPD’s a little more familiar and they’re working to compile some data on the incidents.