LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -- Tensions between bicyclists and police flared on Wednesday night.
FOX5 has been reporting on large groups of cyclists on the strip and downtown. The traffic and safety concerns are weighing on the minds of drivers. Now, police appear to be stepping up enforcement.
A group of cyclists got together at what's known as the Llama Parking Lot across from Atomic liquors on East Fremont Street for a weekly Wednesday night bike ride. The cyclist said it is a loosely organized, family friendly event, but added they were met with over 40 Las Vegas Metropolitan Police officers.
“It was terrifying I had my two children with me who are six and four,” Joellen Fletcher shared.
According to Fletcher, when the group stopped in a parking lot for a water break, some kids popped wheelies on their bikes as police watched.
“They jumped out of the cars and like pulled the kids up off the bikes and fully arrested them… I watched at least 10-15 different people get arrested,” Fletcher recounted.
According to LVMPD, 300 bicyclists were in the downtown area and “caused a disturbance.” LVMPD reported that cyclists did not to obey traffic lights leading to citations and three arrests were made for obstructing a police officer.
Fletcher and her children ride bikes every day and are frequent the Wednesday night group ride. Fletcher contends there have never been issues before. Fletcher believes police staked out Wednesday night’s ride after thousands of bikes filled the strip on Saturday.
“There were a lot of out of town people for a large bike event this weekend that wasn’t like any sort of organized plan by any one group,” Fletcher explained.
“There is no point being harassed just for being on a bike,” Edward Chrzan added. Chrzan has done the Wednesday night ride and believes there needs to be better communication between police and biking groups.
“I’d like to see somebody mediate. Somebody has to be the one to step up and talk to the police for the people, and talk to the people for the police,” Chrzan said.
Fletcher thinks the arrests were excessive and things could have been handled differently.
“We are just trying to have fun and ride our bikes... pulling people off their bikes putting them in handcuffs is uncalled for,” Fletcher asserted.
Fletcher said it can be hard to follow the traffic rules when you have hundreds even thousands of cyclists.
LVMPD said cyclists are just like anyone else on the road and if they don't follow traffic laws, like drivers, they can be ticketed and even arrested.