LOWER MANHATTAN — The NYPD said Tuesday it’s offering a $10,000 reward for anyone providing information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the dirt bike rider responsible for critically injuring a 4-year-old boy in Queens.
Chief Kim Royster, who leads the department’s transportation bureau, said the department is asking for any information or video that may help police in their investigation. Calls will be kept confidential.
Officials said a dirt bike driver struck the 4-year-old boy, critically injuring him, and then drove off in Queens on Sunday night. (Royster said the NYPD is still determining what type of vehicle the suspect was riding, though she said it was motorized and was not an e-bike or e-scooter.)
The boy was struck in the parking lot of Flushing Meadows Corona Park near Meadow Lake Trail at around 7 p.m. Sunday, officials said. He was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
Police said the boy suffered trauma to his head and body and lost consciousness after the hit-and-run.
Tuesday, officials said the boy’s condition was improving, though he remained critical.
Royster said Tuesday the driver was a male in his teens or twenties. Witnesses said the bike was gold and black, according to police sources.
Officers said the bike was traveling at a high speed before the crash.
Royster reminded New Yorkers that dirt bikes, ATVs and other similar motorized bikes aren’t street legal — they cannot be registered with DMV and there’s no license or registration for them. Aside from other dangers, they don’t have the same safety or signaling mechanisms as legal motorcycles.
Earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for a crackdown on dirt bikes in the five boroughs, as community leaders and lawmakers propose heftier penalties for those found riding them.
“NYPD has been very aggressive. Years ago, confiscated a huge number of them and crushed them to make a point. They did that again a few months ago,” de Blasio said. “They’ll keep doing that. We need community members to help us find where they’re being kept so we can get them, seize them. If one’s out there, it’s immediately illegal. It’s just not allowed in New York City.”
Royster said in just the last “week or so,” the NYPD confiscated more than 500 dirt bikes and similar vehicles; they’ve destroyed upwards of 5,000.
In addition to cracking down on riders — with police making arrests as they “post up” at gas stations or street corners, Royster said — if illegal dirt bikes are found on NYCHA property or in storage units, they’ll be confiscated by the NYPD.
Eight people have died in accidents involving dirt bikes and 350 have been injured so far in 2021, data shows.
“It’s a real serious issue,” the mayor said previously. “My heart goes out as a parent to that family, and we’re hoping and praying for the best for that four-year-old.”
The NYPD agrees, saying the bikes are unsafe and unfit for city roadways.
“People are using them to speed through the streets,” Royster said. “We are not going to tolerate these bikes being used on our streets.”
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).
PIX11’s Nicole Johnson and Aliza Chasan contributed.