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If you caught these kids, what would YOU do?

   Running alongside my property is a walkpath.  It is clearly marked with signage saying "No Motorized Vehicles".  It runs up a fairly steep hill (about 30 degrees), with a 90-degree corner at the top and much of it is hidden amongst thick pine trees.  Even at noon, the trees make it a dark tunnel at the corner area.  At the bottom, two driveways (my neighbor's and mine) converge with the outlet of the path onto a cul-de-sac.  The neighbor's drive is long and curving and comes down the hill with more trees screening the path.  We have long feared a collision between downhill traffic and cars - or worse yet, pedestrians (after all, it IS a WALK path).  At the top of the path - where it runs into a path from a neighboring development - we have installed a yellow metal pole in the middle, to discourage people riding 4-wheelers and riding mowers on the path (there is a gas station and mini-mart further down our road, and since the cul-de-sac is the dead end to the road, the people living further up the hill would have to drive an extra mile or more "around" to access the facilities).  This, I hope, sets the stage.

   Yesterday, I spotted two youngsters riding a motorbike down the path.  Figuring they were going to the station, I got a camera and positioned myself on the path.  Minutes later, they came back up - heading into the neighboring subdivision, the one on the back of the bike toting a bag from the C-store.  I stepped out and they stopped.  Here's what I saw:  two boys, in the very early teens; driver with bare feet (illegal), passenger with flip-flops; both wearing shorts, one with no shirt; no helmets (in Idaho, anyone under 18 must wear one); although I have no radar gun, they were clearly exceeding the 25 mph on our road; then, obviously riding on a walking path (I took a picture of them riding right past the "No Motorized Vehicles" sign alongside the path).

   I asked them if they were having trouble understanding the sign.  They said they didn't see it. (It's 18" x 24", bright red on white, double sided, and, mounted on one of my fence posts, it sticks out at least 10" into the 4-foot-wide path.  It and it's predecessors have hung there for 15 years.  I asked the driver if he had a license.  "A Learner's Permit" (in Idaho, you must have a licensed driver with you if you just have a permit, and that's just to drive a car - to ride a motorcycle, you must have a specialty license, showing you've passed a rider's test).

   I pointed out the blind corner with the yellow post.  They said, "We always go very slow through there"... Meaning they've done this before, and yes, you HAVE to go very slow through there, because there is a post in the middle of the path and a 90-degree corner, so duh - but I had already observed them hitting the throttle once clear of those, and shooting down off the end of the path without slowing or looking.  So their declarations of being careful didn't go very far with me.

   So I asked them, "Do your parents know what you are doing?"  The answer: "They sent us down to the station to pick this stuff up."  So the parents not only KNOW that these boys are breaking multiple laws plus being very unsafe, but those parents INSTRUCTED them to do it!!!  In Idaho, we also have laws against bad parenting and endangering children, but I'm only going on the statement of two boys who've already lied to me, so I'm kinda stymied there.

   So I took a picture of the plate.  Told them to push the bike up the hill, and if I ever spotted them again in this area, I'd call the sheriff to give them a ticket (or 2 or more).

   So here's my question to you readers - do I send the pictures and story to the local law enforcement or hope the boys learned something and won't be back?  I was a teen once (or maybe more than once).  I've done TONS of stupid, dangerous, and even occasionally illegal stuff in my life.  So I get it.  I'm not just trying to be a "hey you, get off my lawn!" kinda guy.  But neighbors all over my 'hood have kids, dogs, baby carriages, elderly joggers - all kinds of potential 'targets' that use that path.

   I'm no saint, but I've often paid a price for my bad decisions.  I'm trying to decide if these boys (and potentially their parents, whom I assume own the bike and allegedly sent them on this mission) need to pay one by getting a visit from someone in a blue uniform.  What would YOU do?


At LEAST 5 laws broken and plenty of dumb decisions made...At LEAST 5 laws broken and plenty of dumb decisions made...

Community Manager

That's a tough one. I wouldn't, unless you see signs of bad parenting elsewhere. From what (little) I've seen, kids only behave a certain way because of parenting (or lack thereof) and odds are you should leave this alone unless there are other red flags. 


I totally understand the safety concern here, but unfortunately, there’s no way for a third party to correct bad parenting. Extended family members cannot even correct bad parenting in their own families.


If you caught these kids what should YOU do?


See if you can get an audience with your Council and/or County Board representative. Show them the pictures, civilly explain your concerns and request more patrol of the area, some targeted enforcement and possibly some barriers. Then maybe post something positive about the meeting on social media…politicians love that stuff, and it puts a bit more public pressure on both them and LE to take action. It can also be a catalyst for others in the hood to be vocal about wanting it.  This is where the value of your pics are. The police won’t use them as evidence for any retro- enforcement citations, and I would caution against any further detentions of violators on the path. You’re opening yourself up civilly and the pictures would also document that.



Thats a hot tamale Dub as a concerned citizen for all the reasons u have given no action is more or less condoning their behavior,I get it in the past we live in a reasonably remote area and 4 wheelers are everywhere helmets seem to be a fifty fifty chance as well as far to young flying down the backroads  and even the hwy that we live on.Letting the local police force know is the proper way to proceed JMO it very well could save a life or injury,that said my view in my teenage years would be mind your own business i rode my dirt bike anywhere and everywhere at any time what i can tell you when the heat was on in areas I should not have been in i would then find elsewhere to defy everyone young lads will be young lads cant change nature but U can try and steer them in the proper direction cool heads needed to get this accomplished. Cheers R


Look they are stupid kids. As long as no harm is possible I let it go. 

I had a woman with six little kids on a 4 wheeler. She had no helmets on any and no real control of them. I did waive down a cop while I was out and let him know what I was seeing and asked if he would keep me eye out for it. He talked to her and it’s not happened again. 

Some times an idiot just needs a word to wake them up. 

Let’s face it today many people lack good judgment anymore and do need a little help to not hurt themselves or someone else. 


   I appreciated all of the responses to my question.  Like several pointed out, teens are not always the most level-headed folks, and I also get that times are getting more lax than they used to be (for better or for worse, but it's fact).  So here's an update: two days ago, I saw one of these boys walking up the path, toting a bag from the C-store.  I didn't say anything (nor did he), but I silently wondered if he was always going to just walk down there, and if it might in some small part be a result of our encounter.  Who knows?  Maybe he does his illegal riding in the other direction from my house in order to avoid me 😁

   But if I planted one little tiny seed in those lads that might sprout and eventually grow, I'm happy.  But I'm no pushover: I'm still gonna watch for them and I'll follow through with my threat if they repeat the shenanigans on the motorbike.  After all, each of us must (or should, at least) learn that actions have consequences.