LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Some bikers are asking for an explanation after a large bike ride around downtown Las Vegas ended with some of them, including minors, in handcuffs and a clash with police officers.
The movement, they call the "BikeLife," has been steadily growing through social media, especially Instagram, amid the pandemic.
"We've been doing this for two years and since COVID hit, that's when a lot of people were buying bikes and coming outside," explained Roman "Chop" Delrosario who operates the Instagram account for Team Seven.
On Wednesday evening, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department says, as many as 300 bicyclists were riding around the area and some were not obeying traffic laws.
Around 7:30 p.m., police say patrol officers responded to Maryland Parkway and Charleston Boulevard to "encourage compliance with traffic laws, enhance safety to the community and take enforcement action against those who violated the law."
At one point, a fight broke out involving some of the bicyclists, according to police.
“My nephew got arrested, he was standing behind me, the police came in and swarmed in and took him down for no reason and we were wondering why," said Delrosario.
Videos circulating on social media and provided to 13 Investigates show officers taking people into custody.
“He grabbed, manhandled my son, which is all on video, manhandled him like I’ve never seen, to the police car and as a parent, you can imagine what I felt," said Fred Soukup, who was also arrested for obstructing a police officer.
“Unfortunately, we got into a confrontation with the police, saying you’re not gonna take my son and unfortunately they took me and called it obstruction because I wouldn’t let them take my son to juvie [juvenile detention center] and unfortunately I went to jail," explained Soukup.
Additional videos provided to 13 Investigates shows Jordan Soukup, 17, being taken by police.
“He was yelling at me, 'get off the bike,' cussing, grabbed me off the bike, was pulling me, dragging me and threw me in front of a cop car and cuffed me up and threw me in the backseat, no explanation, no anything," said Jordan Soukup.
Jordan says he was cited for not having lights on his bike.
“I was very scared, I’m 18 in two weeks actually, so in two weeks if this happened I would’ve been in jail," added Jordan.
“[The officers] formed a line kind of like it was a riot going on," said Javonte Johnson, who was also handcuffed.
“My thoughts are, they overreacted to the max," added Johnson.
Safety advocates say videos circulating online show many cyclists do not appear to be following the rules of the road.
“If you are operating a bike in the state of Nevada, if the wheels of your bike are in the streets, you are considered a vehicle which means you have to follow all the same laws as a vehicle has to follow," explained Erin Breen, director of the Vulnerable Road Users Project at UNLV.
Breen points out several cyclists were killed last year on Southern Nevada roadways.
“If you are doing things because there is strength in numbers, that you think make you safe, you are still traveling without the benefits of 4,000 pounds of steel around you, airbags and seatbelts," added Breen.
Breen says bicycles can travel in the far right travel lane and in most cases, have the right to use the entire lane.
However, bicycles cannot travel in the middle or left lanes of traffic.
They must observe all traffic signs and laws including red lights, stop signs, and cannot ride between lanes.
“If you think laws don’t pertain to you just because there’s a lot of you, then you become a threat to safety on the road, not only your safety but the safety of others as well," added Breen.
On Saturday, police estimated 2,000 bicycles took over the Strip for a ride down Las Vegas Boulevard.
Drake Newton, the founder of Team Seven, says Las Vegas police helped to facilitate Saturday's ride with police blocking traffic for a time.
Newton is unsure what happened between Saturday's interaction with police and Wednesday's confrontation.
Delrosario says police at Wednesday's scene made reference to protests connected to Black Lives Matter.
"We don't even know what that meant, we were just riding bikes," said Delrosario.
Delrosario says Team Seven bikes for good causes and has held coat, toy, and food drives in the recent past.
The group says they will remind fellow riders to obey the rules of the road moving forward and do not plan to stop holding events.
EDITORS NOTE: 13 Investigates has learned from Jordan Soukup's mother that he was only cited for no lights on his bike. He mistakenly thought he was facing additional charges including resisting arrest and attempting to flee the police. A previous version of this story indicated those details. We regret the error.