Many in motorcycle community condemn risky behaviour but a smaller group applauds it, says one rider
A "mob" of motorcyclists who took over sections of several southern Ontario highways on the weekend, smoking their tires, popping wheelies and halting traffic has police hunting for information.
Ontario Provincial Police say they are looking for witnesses after receiving multiple complaints about a large group of motorcyclists travelling together on Sunday afternoon on highways 409, 401, 403, the Queen Elizabeth Way, the Don Valley Parkway and the Gardiner Expressway.
The dozens of riders caused major traffic delays and shut down sections of one of the highways, police said in a news release Wednesday.
"The actions of these riders jeopardized the safety of all road users by increasing the risk of collisions, as well as frustrating drivers which may lead to road rage incidents," the release said.
A Facebook event page called "Ride of the 6ix" indicates that a group motorcycle ride was organized for Aug. 6. Police would not confirm whether that event is being investigated specifically.
"There is no place for groups like this to hijack our highways," said OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, who appealed to the riders to turn themselves in.
Wes Morden, a Toronto-area motorcyclist who has been riding for about five years, said most in the motorcycling community are against the behaviour seen Sunday, but there is a segment that applauds it.
"The split is largely along age lines, most of the riders that applaud these acts being younger," said Morden.
Another factor at play, says Morden, is what's seen as "the laissez-faire attitude of car drivers."
"No signals, rolling stops, no shoulder checks, and the worst one, texting. To a car, it's a fender bender, to us it's death. Some bikers use this as justification for their own erratic or dangerous behaviours," Morden said.
Police are appealing to the public to come forward with any information that can identify the motorcyclists and their vehicles. Dashcam footage, photos and video are all welcome, they say.
Anyone with information is asked to call the OPP at 416-317-8250 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).