Is It Just Me Or Are These Not The Menace of Past Years?

DSCN1715, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

I hate these freaking mini bikes. Happily, I haven’t seen/heard these nearly as frequently as I have in past years. I saw this one deserted in a back alley. Is it just me or are these much more rare this year?

19 Comment

  • I don’t know how it applies to minibikes, but I know that when I moved to DC I had to give up my Vespa because DC regulations require a motorcycle license, insurance, tags, etc. even under 50cc. If those were new regulations, maybe they affected minibike owners as well?

  • Still very present in my hood, Lamont St. btwn Georgia and Warder , and it seems the cops feel it is way too much of a bother to stop kids on these because then one officer is forced to sit and wait with the bike until a DC tow, or other salvage vehicle, can show up to cart it off. So instead the kids ignore the cops and the cops ignore the kids… frustrating.

  • Definitely less minibikes around, but far more scooters. I see more and more everyday, especially Vespas and Vespa knock-offs.

    Keven – The motorcycle license test is really, really, easy…you would have passed it as long as you have a pulse. As far as insurance goes, its around $300 a year for comprehensive including theft, not too bad at all.

    Is it too late to get your Vespa back? This is the ideal American city to ride one in!

  • To require a motorbike endorsement on your license, a bike must have any of the following:
    * Piston displacement of more than 50cc
    * Ability to exceed 35mph.
    * Greater than 1.5bhp
    * Wheels over 16 inches in diameter
    * Manual transmission

    I am pretty sure mini bikes start at about 2bhp, so you’d need a motorbike license.

    I don’t like them either, but I just tried to analyse why not. I think it might be because I associate them with punks in our neighborhood. When I think about it, though, I’m not sure I have a legitimate grievance against them. Mebbe just prejudice.

  • Anything with an motor and two wheels that is DOT approved must have registration, inspection & insurance in the District. People like to talk about the ‘under 50cc’ [engine displacement] rule, but it doesn’t exist here. All ‘under 50cc’ gets you here is that you don’t need to wear a helmet or have a separate motorcycle endorsement on your license. Kevin, you got lied to. Tags and insurance, yes, but not the separate moto license endorsement.

    These minibikes and mini-dirt bikes are not DOT approved and cannot be registered, therefore cannot be operated or parked on public property. Of course DC police has a ‘no chase’ policy for two-wheeled things last I heard, so the laws are kinda toothless in that regard.

    One reason you may see fewer is that many municipalities outside the District and the feds were trying to cut down on their importation and sale. Most of them are from China and are essentially ‘gray market’ items. No safety or emissions standards are usually followed. Also there’s [thankfully] no parts supply, so many of these little bikes fall into disrepair pretty fast due to poor construction/assembly & cannot be fixed.

    DC scooter/moped & motorcycle law PDF here:

  • Between the little darlings riding these things up and down the streets, sidewalks, and alleys -and the precious little pit bulls -well….. Where’s the Maalox? ( smile… sorta)

  • Pip,

    Do you want some reasons to hate them?

    First of all the rider sits so low that drivers can not see them

    Also, drug dealers use to get kids to circle the block watching out for cops. I have seen this happen before and honestly it is scary.

  • There definitely seems to be less of them than in years past, but they are still around. I almost hit someone on one the other day. They sit too low, they never stop at a stop sign and I never see any rider with a helmet on. That being said, I think they must be the silliest modes of transportation to hit the streets in a long time! They look ridiculous with their too long of legs splayed out to the sides, they look like the fat lady on the bicycle at the circus.

  • they are good for the environment because they use less gas…what’s wrong with that? i want one!

  • They are certainly NOT rare on the Intangible side o’ the hood georgia/irving-ish — Little rat-bastids racing through the alleys & down the sidewalks, etc. Makes me wonder if there’s a hunting season for those things. I haven’t gone trap or skeet shooting since I was a kid, but this couldn’t be much harder. And it would be a public service.

  • Anon: they’re not good for the environment, actually, since they’re two stroke engines and put out a ton of pollutants. A four stroke scooter is a lot better, although my Stella (a high-end two stroke vespa clone) has a catalytic converter on it.

    A motorcycle endorsement is REALLY easy to get in DC, but it doesn’t mean that you should ride without knowing the risks:

  • On the minibike issue, I find them reckless. However, I saw an older black guy riding some kind of minibike chopper, which I thought was awesomely ridiculous.

  • Once when I was gardening I saw this little kid, maybe 9 or 10 yrs old, riding a dirt bike (moped?) up and down the sidewalks, around the block and through the alleys. I was in a bad mood and called 311…well maybe 10 minutes later I see a police car drive by with the bike half out the trunk and the little kid in the back of the police car. I’m not sure that’s what I really wanted to happen (sigh), but hey, the police did respond right away!

  • SM are you serious? I have never seen them respond that way at all, let alone in a timely manner… Was it Friday the 13th, or a full moon or something…?

  • Minibikes. Pitbulls. Is there anything in common here? I would venture a guess that the same people riding the minibikes are the same ones walking their pitbull offleash and allowing it to sh%t in your yard without picking it up.

  • Menace and annoyance for sure. And less prevalent recently, too, thankfully.

    And I’m no killjoy, but before people start harping on “worrying about more important things” allow me to share this story:

    Working from home one day and I heard a screeeeeeeeaaachBAM. Ran to my front window and saw a car halfway through the intersection with pieces-parts of one of these mini-bikes strewn about and a completely disoriented (and since getting hit, shoeless – totally Dane Cook-style) former scooter rider.

    Contrary to what you might think, the scooter ran the stop sign and hit the car! But, seeing as the bike was a) illegally being driven on the street to begin with, and b) it was teenager and weekday during the school year so he was likely skipping school – the guy and a friend pushed the bike away and ran off before anyone could stop them. It was a hit-and-run with the scooter doing the hitting-and-running!

    I called the cops, the car driver called the cops. I talked to a couple people who saw the whole thing go down. We all waited around for 45 minutes, and the cops never came. The driver eventually just left, with a completely damaged front quarter panel, door, and hood.

    The kid could have been killed! The car driver will likely now be stuck with a repair bill and higher insurance premiums. This isn’t just about kids trying to have some fun. Serious consequences are involved.

  • There are a few kids riding one of the in my hood on the sidewalk. While walking my dog and nearly getting run over, I called 911 under the new 911/311 rules. After reporting that this punk nearly ran over kids on the sidewalk, they hung up on me. Next time, I’ll just clothesline the fucker.

  • they are illegal to operate on dc roadss and i have seen one case prosecuted- a teenager with a child of toddler age as a passenger. i think that the law went into effect a few years ago and i certai nly have noticed a marj=ked decrease in the use of these mini bikes.

  • Sounds like some of you people need to move out to the burbs. Stop being so uptight. Why do you even live in a urban area?

    Minibikes are not meant as modes of tranportation. They are toys. They are fun to ride. While I don’t care for the noise or the typical ghetto kids riding them, it’s really not a big deal in the greater scheme of things. If they get hit by a car, it’s their problem – and hey, some small risks are worth taking.

Comments are closed.