When the shutdown happened last year, streets quickly emptied out.

And that meant that illegal street racing, already a big problem in this region, became even worse.

Five things you need to know:

  1. There are several different types. In addition to organized, though illegal, meetups among people who know each other, there are also impromptu races between strangers and sideshows with groups of people who take over intersections to perform stunts and street takeovers where dozens of off-road vehicles take over a street and ride recklessly.
  2. Dirt bike street takeovers are becoming more popular in Los Angeles. It started in South LA a few years ago and is now happening more frequently in the central part of the city along Melrose Avenue and La Brea Avenue.
  3. The increase in street racing with offroad vehicles is being driven by social media that makes it easy to arrange, and by the low cost of dirt bikes compared with cars.
  4. Dirt bike street racing started in Oakland in the 1990s and was popularized in Baltimore, Md. 
  5. Traffic collisions involving street racing have tripled in LA this year, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.