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Moped Group Takes Over the Streets, Havoc Ensues

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God help you if you were stuck in yesterday afternoon's traffic in Hollywood. It was a disaster. At least part of the traffic can be blamed on the LA Latebirds, who held a weekend-long moped rally throughout the city. (You can see a map of their weekend route here.) Clint Chilcott, 23, who drove from Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the rally, tells us he believes that more than 200 people took part in the event, traveling from as far away as New York and Virginia. More about the rally after the jump, but some background: The LA Latebirds are part of Moped Army, a national group originally founded in Michigan and a self-described "group of avid moped riders," according to their web site. And as far as traffic, like the Midnight Ridazz bike gang, moped gangs cork intersections ie block intersections with their bikes. But before you start hating them, read this 2006 Christian Science Monitor article and check out clips from a documentary about Moped Army. Dare we say it, but moped gangs seem sort of cute.

More links: Via their official site, you can see a map of where the Latebirds went this weekend.

Here's a Flickr set from the event.

And here's YouTube video from the event.

And more from Clint on the group:

Why the rally: “It’s a way to get attention. One of things that we do, it’s called corking intersections?people go in and stop in front of the cars, so other people can go through the light?it stirs things up. It brings attention to the cause.”

What to know about moped gangs: “It’s people who enjoy the limitations of a moped. You can spend $3,000 a motorcycle that can go 100 miles per hour. Mopeds can go 30 mph and when we make them go 70 mph.”

On the police: “The cops came out yesterday [Saturday], but then they realized it was futile. They sent up a road block to try and stop us, but they put the roadblock behind us and they only got five of the guys?I don’t think they anyone got arrested.”

On causing a scene: “The funny thing is that when we get going, we have this huge mass, but we leave behind a trail, like a snail. [Mopeds] just start breaking down left and right. These are older mopeds, some of them are 30 years old, and these kids have spent thousands on fine-tuning them, but sometimes they push too hard and they break down.”

On where they stayed: "It was a warehouse [on Santa Fe Avenue in downtown], it was right near for Skid Row. I think [the group] paid $3,000 for it for the weekend..but you go inside and it's full of tents?it’s moped tent city. But it’s funny, all these people are fighting and drunk, and these kids drove from across the city, they drove their Mom’s mini-van and they packed three or four mopeds in the [van] and they drove all night and they’re just trying to sleep."

One car accident: “My moped was getting sort of janky, and it was getting a little dusky. This guy was going to take a right, but he didn’t see me, I just got knocked off my bike. Of course, he’s a guido with spiked up hair and collar up, and he;s with a hot blond girl and they’re in a tricked-up Civic. The only thing he could say was dude, fuck, dude, fuck, dude, so sorry, fuck dude. He said that for five minutes, I was like, I’m ok, I’m ok, ok, just shut up, I'm ok."
· Moped Army [Official Site]