Gates installed along Courtney Campbell Causeway to curb street racing

police say the activity has been a problem for years

Tampa, Fla (WFLA) High performance motorcycles whizzing by at 150 miles and hour, Corvettes and other sports cars racing side by side. It’s a scene you might picture at your local drag strip or race track. But, police say, it’s a scene that plays out every weekend on the Courtney Campbell Causeway between Clearwater and Tampa.

Authorities believe they’ve come up with a solution to the dangerous illegal racing. In a release put out on Saturday, TPD announced it paired up with the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County and the Florida Department of Transportation to install gates along the causeway near Ben T. Davis Beach. The gates will be closed between 11pm and 4am daily. The hope is it will limit the gatherings, and hence, limit the street racing.

On Saturday afternoon, several racers gathered to show off their motorcycles and cars. Ryan Ramsey brags his Dodge Neon makes more than 300-horsepower. He doesn’t believe the gates will deter racing. “I don’t think putting gates up is going to do much for it.”  Said Ramsey. “Because you’re either going to push them out of the area and put them where it could possibly be more dangerous….  ”

Triston Valez agrees. “I don’t think it’s going to stop anything..If anything it will probably just encourage for more.”  Said Valez. “At the end of the day, people like to break the rules. ”

Street racers who spoke with Newschannel Eight told us, what law enforcement classifies as dangerous, reckless and illegal, they classify as exciting and exhilarating. “Once you’ve been in speed for years, it’s like a natural thing.  It’s like a release. From anxiety or problems in life.” Said Ramsey. “Boost therapy is what they call it.”

They also say track racing is much more restrictive and costly. Racing up and down the Courtney Campbell Causeway is free and unregulated …Unless you get caught.


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