Major Accident Involving Dirt Bikes at Eckington Pl and Florida Ave NE Early Tues. Morning

A reader sends in the photo and writes:

“Two Young males riding dirt bikes with no lights or helmets ,one was hit by a very large dump truck and one was hit and killed this morning.”

Council Member Harry Thomas writes:

“Florida and eckington NE. Two black males traveling east bound on Florida at approx 0500 on dirt bikes attempted to stop for tractor trailer however one bike slid and rider fell off and slid under the truck and was run over.”

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64 Comment

  • Having seen some of these kids and how they drive their dirtbikes, I have to say this was inevitable, and I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often.

  • Anyone trying to take the X3 bus, or just generally driving westbound on FL this morning- beware. There was a really long detour (at least on the bus) down to K around Union Station. Added about 30 minutes to the commute. Sad, but really people, use helmets, lights, and common sense.

  • No helmets, lights off. Makes me think the bikes were either just stolen or the riders were intoxicated. Especially given the timing of the event. That’s not to diminish anything, just an observation.

  • What an awful way to go.

  • Darwin award candidates.

  • These bikes are usually unlicensed, as are the kids, who have no training. The city should put a stop to this. These bikes are a hazard to the riders, pedestrians, and other motorists. In every other city where I have lived, if a cop saw a kid on an unlicensed bike, the bike would be impounded.

    • MPD has a no-chase policy, so officers aren’t allowed to do anything. Possession of these dirt bikes isn’t a crime, so MPD can’t impound them if they’re just in a yard or somewhere, but once they’re being ridden, MPD also can’t do anything due to the no-chase policy. They pretty much have to wait for a crash, then impound the bikes. Most stations have a pile of these piece-of-junk bikes in their back lot.

      • No-chase policy? So all I have to do to get away from the cops is run away?

        • Yes, basically as long as you didn’t just shoot or stab someone in front of an officer, if you just keep rolling at some point the dispatcher or an official will start ordering the officer to stop pursuing/following you. The policy is universally hated, and results in a lot criminals going free.

          • I should clarify – that’s vehicle chases [cars, motorcycles, scooters, etc] not foot chases.

      • I have to introduce you to these things called cameras some day. They make it extremely easy to track down fleeing suspects.

    • Not usually unlicensed. ALWAYS unlicensed. Dirt bikes are prohibited in DC.


      • “Dirt bikes” are not prohibited in DC if they are plated, street legal, and the owner has a motorcyle endorsement on their license. My husband has two plated “dirt bikes” registered in DC.

        • They aren’t actual dirt bikes if you’re able to register them as street legal, though.

        • Suki, did you read the official info posted?

          From DC DMV: “It is a criminal offense to operate an ATV or a dirt bike on any public property in the District. ATVs and dirt bikes are not permitted to be registered in the District.”

          If your husband somehow scammed DMV to register an actual dirt bike and use it on public property in DC, I hope he gets arrested.

          • I think Suki’s husband may have a motard or other type of Hybrid…which are a lot like dirt bikes but have been modded for legal use on the street (DOT tires and lights, etc). Those are totally fine …think KTM.
            The one from the accident this morning (at least the pic I saw) was of a Yamaha YZ or TT. Def not meant for the street and illegal for sure.
            Almost certain they had no MC endorsement. It’s sad and dumb.

      • Thanks for the link, Anon from 10:25 a.m.

        I was thinking that “dirt bike” meant “off-road bicycle” and was getting increasingly confused. (According to the PDF chart, a dirt bike is “any motorcycle designed primarily for off-road use.”)

    • When I think dirt bike, I think BMX. Blog post should be more clear that this was a motorized bike accident and not a pedal bike accident.

      Captcha FKUF

  • It was only a matter of time. The number of youth on unlicensed, illegal 2-stroke dirtbikes and minibikes in some neighborhoods of this city is astounding. I have never seen police do anything to curb the joyriding.

    I have a motorcycle. If I was stupid enough to ride around without a helmet I would doubtless get a ticket or worse. So why is it okay for these kids on scooters, dirtbikes, minibikes, etc to fly around wherever they want wearing nothing at all? Or to even have these bikes, which are in no way street legal?

    I wish I could muster some sympathy for the families. But honestly, this was going to happen, and I hope it serves as a catalyst for cracking down on these activities. Frankly, I feel sorry for the truck driver who will have to deal with this event for the rest of his life.

    • Amen to that bit about the truck driver. I know there’s no comparison to the rider’s loss of life, but my strong sense is that he was not at fault in the accident, yet will have to carry through the rest of his life a heavy heart from being behind the wheel when this guy met his end underneath the wheels of the truck.

    • +1. Sad for all involved. All these illegal bikes kill me. Most people don’t register their 50cc scooters even (or think that they don’t have to!), and there aren’t enough cops that ticket for plateless scooters and operaters with no helmets.
      I took an MSF course in MD to get my license…I wish DC did more to bring MSF or MC safety awareness into the city.

      • Lots of scooters have 49cc engines to skirt the law.

        • There’s no law to skirt – even 49cc scooters/mopeds need registration/tags/insurance in DC. Yes, it’s hardly ever enforced, but there are only 2 types of motorized vehicles in DC; those that need registration/tags/insurance and those that are illegal. The dirt bikes these kids were riding appear to be the illegal type.

          • EXACTLY! All of them are supposed to be registered. That 50cc (AKA 49 CC) and under doesn’t require registration in DC is a misconception (MD is a different story). “I see them zipping around all the time” is usually the retort to this factoid, but it *is* still illegal. There are only a handful of cops that will enforce it though…but you really don’t want to run into one of them!
            If the MC laws in DC were more strictly enforced, perhaps these young men would be spending a night in jail with their bike in impound instead…

  • Sleepy – according to the picture I saw of the motorcycle involved, it did not have any lights in the first place..

    It does seem unusual for youths to be riding dirtbikes at 5:30 in the morning right?

  • what is a dirtbike? I was thinking mountain bike or those bikes with thick tires that are way too small for the rider. But it sounds like they’re motorized?

  • I heard this morning a lady had to have her baby delivered in her car because she was in labor and stuck in this traffic.

  • This happened at 5 am?! There goes my sympthy right there. What in heaven’s name are two young men doing on the street at 5 am if they’re not going to work?

    Don’t these people have parents?

    I have a friend who is a single mother of a teen son. She keeps him busy on homework and in activities while working full time herself to make sure he is too busy and tired to get into trouble. When he steps out of line, she is on him like white on rice. They should interview the parent/s and find out why their kid was out so late. And if it’s not the parents’ responsibillity for their kid, it’s sure as hell not anyone else’s.

    • You have no sympathy for this family because this kid wasn’t operating on a timeline you deem appropriate? Not everyone keeps the same schedule. I have a neighbor who gets home from work at 7am. My BF gets home at 11pm. Thanks to my neighbor who was hanging out on his porch at 3:30 am, my car wasn’t stolen. This kid’s parent/s could have been at work, or sleeping. Didn’t you ever sneak out of your house when you were a teenager?

      I don’t think grieving parents need to be badgered with an interview to “find out why their kid was out so late.” That just sounds mean.

      • It sounds like part of the investigation, really.

      • I agree that some parents, however well-meaning, cannot supervise their children due to crazy work schedules. We had a neighbor who was coming home from her nursing job at the same time we were leaving for our 9 to 5’s. Her (grown) “kids” drank all day and night and generally wreaked havoc in the neighborhood. I’m so glad they moved.

        While I have trouble conjuring up sympathy for the motorbike kid, I still feel horrible for their families. It’s not always as easy as “where were their parents?”

        Even bad parents shouldn’t have to outlive their children…

  • Umm…if they were going eastbound on Florida between Eckington and New York, they were going the wrong way down a one-way.

    • Good point; didn’t even notice that.

      Riding an illegal vehicle prohibited on public streets + riding on a one-way + no visibility equipment + nighttime + no helmet + likely speed = natural selection.

  • What ages? Maybe they would have been playing baseball if Thomas hadn’t stolen 300k from them.

  • I was just thinking that I have not been hearing the sound of motorbikes on Warder as much this summer as I have in past summers. Maybe the police presence at the rec center drove them summer where else. When I have seen them it’s clear that they are just accidents waiting to happen. Kids riding up and down Warder, with and against traffic, not stopping at any stop signs. Sometimes you just have to learn the hard way.

  • I live 3 blocks from this accident. Two black teenagers on dirtbikes have been riding erratically through my neighborhood all summer, at all hours of the day and night. They would speed (35-45mph in a 25mph zone) down the wrong way on my one way street and through alleys, and ride on sidewalks. My neighbors and I have called the police multiple times to curtail their illegal riding. As one poster mentions above, MPD cannot chase them. In any case, I wouldn’t be shocked if these were the same individuals. Terrible tragedy that it took a fatal accident to put an end to inexcusable unsafe use of motorized equipment.

    • I agree, except for the idea that this will put an end to this type of activity. Others will continue to do it, and continue to put themselves and others at risk.

    for all the questions about what’s legal and what’s not in dc

    it doesn’t matter what your ride or if you wear helmet or not
    if you don’t do so with at least reasonable responsibility

  • I have almost hit kids on dirtbikes 2 or 3 times when they have run the stop sign at 3rd st and L st NE. The 3 times I have seen them at that intersection they have flown through the stop sign with no lights or helmets on and I’ve always been amazed they have not been killed months ago.

  • MotoMoe has it right. My “dirt bikes” are street legal and registered in DC. Check out husqvarna sometime! That said, these crazy kids on dirt bikes are tempting fate in a major way and it was only a matter of time until something like this happens (and it will again). So sad.

  • Someone died and you feel the need to be the king of snark, tough guy? Grow up.

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