Mayhem on the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia

On the night of July 27, 2019, a Saturday, I took a friend of mine from out of town to see the view from the top of the steps at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The steps were immortalized in the film “Rocky” when the character ran up them in an iconic scene. Since then, it has been a tradition for tourists and locals alike to mimic the scene when they visit.

We approached from the right side by the Rocky statue and made it up a few steps before a swarm of what seemed to be at least 50 to 100 ATVs, dirt bikes and other vehicles of that type drove on the side walk with several actually driving up and down the steps. My friend and I were nearly hit as were families with several children who seemed to be 5 to 10 years old.

After getting over the initial shock I took some video, but it doesn’t adequately convey the sad spectacle and fear they generated not only for my friend, but for other people with families who expressed outrage. After they settled the bikers were taking video themselves, doing burnouts and wheelies, and many of them started smoking marijuana– the smell was unmistakable. So they were not only riding up the stairs and pedestrian walkways, they were doing so under the influence.

I was puzzled because police saw what was going on and did absolutely nothing. When we left by walking through the illegal bikers, which my friend compared to the final scene in the Hitchcock classic “The Birds”, some of them drove with us once we were driving away and proceeded to ride on sidewalks and other areas meant for pedestrians. All in front of the police.

When I got home I did some research and found that this is a growing problem in the city, and the police policy is to not pursue in the name of “safety.” Not invalid, but that doesn’t excuse the city for not taking serious steps to stop what seems to be a real menace outside of simply chasing them down. It also must be noted, I don’t blame rank and file cops. I’m sure they would love to preserve order, but they’ve been ordered to stand down.

I called the police in Philadelphia and spoke to two representatives who did not take my call remotely seriously. I was told this “happens every weekend” and that because I wasn’t hurt or killed that it was no big deal. I asked them what it would take for the police to actually take action and asked if someone being hurt or killed was enough (I'm unsure whether any serious injuries or deaths have occurred in Philly so far, but I have read it has happened in neighboring areas). No answer was given, but one had the balls to ask me in a condescending tone to submit a proposal to stop these bikers. The calls were tense and I was beyond annoyed that I wasn’t taken seriously, nor was this issue. Imagine applying those excuses to other crimes.

I hope the national media will run with this story and spur the police department and mayor’s office who claims to be taking incidents like this “very seriously” to actually take action. I do not think these bikers were trying to hurt anyone and were having fun, but if they keep this up someone will be hurt or killed because of it. And if the city continues to stand by it’s pure negligence, and those in power who have let it happen to this point should be ousted. Philadelphia is a beautiful city with a lot of wonderful people, but this is madness. And I have no doubt if they were disrupting the areas where the mayor or police commissioner frequent that things would have been cleaned up by now. This incident was truly scary and the city's action – or more accurately, inaction – is truly pathetic.

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By: RCM138 (12.80)

Tags: Philadelphia, Rocky, Steps, Dirtbike, ATV, Hurt, Harm, Killed, Children, Madness, DWI, DUI