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Thrill seekers on Nashville highways could put others at risk

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

If you thought stunt driving was just for the movies, think again. Thrill-seekers are showing off all over Nashville's interstates and then posting the videos online for the whole world to see.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol couldn't believe when the Channel 4 I-Team showed them the kinds of stunts some motorcycle riders are pulling on busy roads full of other drivers.

By all accounts, most motorcycle riders are responsible, safe and they follow the rules of the road. But, the few who are daring these stunts are getting a lot of attention for where they choose to break the rules.

The videos posted to YouTube show motorcycle riders speeding and popping wheelies on local interstates. It's a risk John Milliken, state coordinator for the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Motorcycle Rider Education Program, said is a funeral waiting to happen.

"Motorcycling is a lot more risky than riding in a car," Milliken said. "Doing things like this, it just ups your odds of something happening. Maybe that's the thrill they're looking for."

Nashville landmarks and road signs are visible in the videos as the motorcycle riders zoom past.

"It doesn't make sense at all to me to be doing that out in the public, on the interstate," Milliken said.

Avid motorcyclist Rick Horner said those who do dangerous stunts on the interstate instead of a private track give the rest of the biking community a bad name.

"We're trying to be safe as riders. There's enough hazards out there with drivers using cell phones and such and not paying attention looking for motorcyclists, and they're making it harder for us by potentially causing accidents themselves," Horner said.

The Channel 4 I-Team reached out to one rider who posted one of the videos on YouTube to get his side of the story, but he in turn posted our question on a Facebook page for Nashville motorcycle riders.

Many people then left comments that said Channel 4 should instead single-out car drivers who don't pay attention, because they cause a majority of crashes on the roads.

"If they wanna battle safety concerns, vehicles lose all the way," one comment said.

Others argued the stunts are controlled. In some of the videos, other riders are seen surrounding the riders doing the wheelies, blocking other drivers from getting too close.

However, the THP also said these kinds of stunts belong on a private track and not on a busy interstate.

"Sooner or later, your luck runs out, and not everybody is as good as they think they are on one of those things. Every time I thought I was doing really good with it, it taught me I wasn't," Milliken said.

The THP could not find any reports of wrecks apparently caused by any of these stunts in the past year, but troopers said they will ticket anyone they see performing stunts and simply being shown doing a wheelie in a YouTube video is enough evidence for a citation.

Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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