Resident Says ATVs, Dirt Bikers Tearing Up Trail

Hellertown resident Lee Weidner told Borough Council Sept. 17 that "intruders" on dirt bikes and ATVs are damaging Hellertown's section of the Saucon Rail Trail.

Several "intruders" are damaging parts of the Saucon Rail Trail and harassing law-abiding pedestrians and bicyclists by riding dirt bikes and ATVs in violation of posted signs, Hellertown resident Lee Weidner told Borough Council Sept. 17.

The use of motorized vehicles is forbidden on the trail, which has become a popular recreational area since its May 2011 opening.

Weidner, who is a frequent trail-hiker, said the problems are occurring between Thomas Avenue and the trail's northern terminus at Bachman Street.

In one recent instance, Weidner said a woman who was pushing a baby stroller near that part of the trail "was almost run over" by a juvenile on a dirt bike.

Calling the current situation "a clear case of public safety," he said he's called police a number of times to report incidents involving three individuals he said he believes are "Bethlehem intruders."

And while officers have responded quickly and professionally, he said the individuals have consistently eluded them.

"They exit (the trail) either at Blinderman’s or some exit that’s over the Bethlehem border," Weidner told council.

Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp confirmed that officers have responded to the trail a number of times to take reports of incidents from Weidner.

And he also believes the guilty parties may be from Bethlehem, Shupp said.

"There have been times when we have seen them," he said of the riders. "The issue is catching them."

Shupp recommended that consideration be given to the installation of a "staggered gate" that could block access to the trail by being "something small enough that an ATV can't fit through."

The chief told council that police will continue to monitor the area as part of an effort to catch the scofflaws.

"Hopefully more people, maybe from council…will be able to observe these Bethlehem intruders," Weidner said.

He added that the dirt bikes and ATVs typically appear on the trail between the hours of 3:30 and 6pm.

Hellertown Gal September 24, 2012 at 04:30 PM
As someone who's nearly been hit by these ATV riders on the trail, I can understand Lee's frustration. They fly around with no regard to other people. They are a danger and run the risk of seriously injuring someone. A solution will not be easy but is absolutely neccessary.
Phillip September 24, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Holy drama-queen Lee Weidner. It's not YOUR trail, regardless of whether or not the ATV'ers are illegal or not. Your constant complaints, including canvassing the neighborhoods for anyone w/ information, is INTRUDING on my privacy and patience. Those "ruts" in the photographs aren't any worse than the "ruts" that I've seen kids riding their bicycles make when they skid to a stop. Maybe you should complain about them too.
Mark Cope April 24, 2013 at 07:59 PM
Get rid of the trail problem solved.
Mark Cope April 24, 2013 at 08:04 PM
monkeys, dogs, cats, rats, guns, atv's, motorcycles, ruffians, intruders, children, soon turkey buzzards, birds of prey, poop from all sorts of animals, urine, weeds, god only knows what else. Makes more sense the just close the trail and save us taxpayers all the grief and money
Hugh Gallagher April 24, 2013 at 08:13 PM
3 generations of my family used the rail trail area for decades ( before it was the Rail Trail). We fished, swam , rafted, picked wild mushrooms, ran dogs + dirtbikes . We did it with enough common sense and consideration for others that it was never an issue. I used to get visitors who used the train and I would pick them up at the old train station. We are thankful the trail now but it was actually a better resource in its previous form


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