A police task force of six dirt bikes and two four-wheel-drive vehicles will take to the hills surrounding the San Fernando Valley today and Sunday in a beefed-up effort to find similar vehicles illegally riding on undeveloped hillsides.
Los Angeles Police Lt. Tom Lafferty said the end of the holiday season, when police concentrate on traffic and drunk-driving patrols, has freed police to direct more manpower to chasing dirt bike and four-wheel-drive riders from the hills, where motor vehicles are banned because they may cause fires or damage the environment.
The "dirt bike detail" will ride during daylight and issue tickets carrying fines of up to $90 to riders caught in restricted areas, Lafferty said. In recent years, police have periodically patrolled the hills on weekends with only one or two riders, but Lafferty said the larger task force will continue to operate until the problem of illegal riders is curtailed.
"It's a matter of educating the public," he said. "It's not just a fire hazard. There's the noise, they destroy the growth up there and they trespass. Besides, it's just plain illegal."