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.