Dirt Bikes and ATVs hit H Street again Last Night, Reader Reports Police Pursuit

The ATV/Dirt Bike saga continues. A reader sends word last night at 10:45pm that there were 7-8 kids riding at 9th and H St, NE then headed towards K Street with one police car in pursuit. Looked like “one rider was caught at 9th and H” but the others got away. The reader reported that they were driving on both sides of the street crossing lanes of traffic. It’s interesting to note that he saw a police car in pursuit after yesterday’s discussion noting that MPD had previously been directed not to chase.

98 Comment

  • I get that I live in a city, that I should be used to noise, NIMBY, blah blah blah…

    These people are really just complete douche bags. They’re speeding through residential neighborhoods gunning their engines to make as much noise as possible when a good many people are trying to sleep. “Hey, look at me! I’m a rebel! I want you to look at me because I’m insecure prick! Did you notice me?”

    • +1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    • +10000000. I am completely over these guys. I’m sorry for whatever has gone wrong with their lives to make them into such sociopaths, but I don’t feel like anyone else needs to die or get hurt because of their stupidity and absolute disregard for anyone else’s safety. I hope that all of them are locked up in the very near future.

      • +1gazillion. So fed up with these punk kids (and young adults) riding through the alleys and side streets, in between cars, running lights/stop signs, doing whatever the hell they want.

        • About 50 of ’em stormed down Sherman last night, and a few of the bikers were on the sidewalks crusing at, I don’t know, about 40 MPH… It’s insane.

    • Well, way to go out on a limb with that rebellious opinion of yours.

    • But, but, but . . . they’re clearly just feeling alienated by the changes in society, and this is their way of speaking out! We should dump more money into social programs, so they’ll decide of their own free will to stop this anti-social behavior. (At least that was the significant minority opinion yesterday.)
      /sarsasm/ In case it isn’t obvious.

  • Do these things have to be registered? If not, they clearly should be. If yes, then they clearly should be required to carry visible license plates, just like cars.

    • You really think that these guys will register their dirt bikes and ATVs? They’ll just buy them outside of the district or on some secondary market….

      • Requiring registration gives police a reason to stop these guys and impound their vehicles before the start engaging in very dangerous moving violations.

        • Carlos, these types of bikes are not legal to drive on the streets of DC. You can’t register them here because you’re not allowed to drive them, period (Of course, as we’re learning, doing something illegal is just fine and ok in DC, since the police are hamstrung from enforcing any traffic laws where these idiots are concerned).

      • “buy them” hahahahahaha.

      • I don’t think many 15 year olds in Section 8 housing are purchasing $5,000 bikes. They’re probably stolen.

        • If they are stolen, here’s an idea. MPD buys four or five used dirt bikes, installs tracking devices in them, and then lets them get stolen. Then use them to track these assholes, charge them with everything you can, and confiscate all their frickin toys.

        • Ummm. Fast and furious was about letting semi-automatic weapons get smuggled to drug cartels in Mexico. Pretty sure this is slightly different. Since the issue is an inability to pursue them in a chase, maybe it would be a good idea to have a tracking device lead you to where they congregate.
          And when your iphone gets stolen, I’m pretty sure a large group of iphone thieves don’t all get together in public to use them at the same time. But good analogy.

          • Until the tracking devices stop working or is lost. What happens when one of the riders runs over a kid with a government planted ATV?

    • Kind of like guns! The criminals who use them do not buy legal ones and register them.

  • That might explain the helicopter with a follow spot I saw around 10 pm or so last night…

  • I live on that block and yes, I agree, those thugs are douchebags.

  • I heard what sounded like gunshots near H Street last night too. Sigh.

  • There were 2 dirt bikes and 1 atv flying down Rhode Island Avenue last night around 8pm. They came from NE I am assuming and crossed over First street NW, continuing to head west on Rhode Island Ave. Pretty obnoxious sounding and there were only 3 of them.

  • brookland_rez

    This has been going on for as long as I’ve been in DC. When it’s just a few of them every once in a while people tend to ignore them. If they keep pushing their limits, the police will make examples out of some of them.
    I’ve seen the police chase them before so it does happen.

  • I just don’t get the big uproar about this. It happens once in a blue moon, for a few minutes at a time.

    • This happens at least weekly in Kingman Park. I know it is more than once a blue moon in other neighborhoods as well.

    • I live off New York Avenue and this is not a once in a blue moon type of situation. This is every night. Assholes on every bike you can think of gunning up and down the street..making as much noise as they possibly can. It’s not limited to late hours either – we had huge gangs of them during the day on the weekends too. One time I saw a guy get off his bike and hold up traffic through at least five red lights to they could all stay together. He was seriously causing a huge backup and the police never came. This wasn’t biker week either – that’s a different headache altogether. Imagine just getting off your bike and putting your hands up to stop traffic with no consequences whatsoever. It’s also incredibly dangerous to be standing in the road like that. We love our place, but are looking to move when our lease is up because we can’t stand it anymore. Ambulances, fire trucks – no problem. These guys? AWFUL.

      • If it was just the noise, whatever, but they’re putting themselves and others at risk with their completely reckless driving. This isn’t just a nuisance.

    • +1,000

      And I have seen it in every city I have ever lived both in the US abroad. Always young guys, unregistered bikes, and from all incomes and backgrounds (not just “affordable housing” ugh). They’re annoying, make noise, and can be dangerous but short of outlawing youthful stupidity the best I hope for is that they grow up and learn before they crack their skulls on those things!

    • I live in a generally quiet area on the borders of Brookland and Michigan Park. In the summer, they ride through the alleys and side streets nearly every day and at all times throughout the day, so this is not “once in a blue moon”. My neighbors and I have reported them, but by the time the police arrive, they’re gone.

    • I think you might get what the “uproar” is once you get mowed down by one of these idiots on the sidewalk, or your car gets smashed or you hit one and have to live with the fact that you severely injured or killed someone even though it was no fault of your own.

  • These guys need to be stopped, no doubt– but like so many things crime related, policing is only going to do so much. Just another of many manifestations of youthful frustration and lack of agency. Until they have better things to do or something more to lose, expect this sort of thing to continue gaining in popularity.

    • binpetworth

      Yeah, I feel like a better way to stop them would be to concoct some old fashioned revenge, like hijacking a molasses truck which springs a mysterious leak straight onto the asphalt seconds before they ride by…

    • I could understand if this were the middle of nowhere… but in a city as big as D.C., they can’t find anything better to do? Seriously?

      • What else do you think they’d be doing?

        • Is this a serious question? If they weren’t out there terrorizing pedestrians and drivers/bicyclists, they wouldn’t have anything else to do? Right. Actually, I tend to think there is probably a lot of overlap between the kinds of people who behave like this (willfully endangering others) and the criminals stealing your iPhones, casing your house, and generally causing grief and disorder for the rest of us. The least they can do is sign up for the organ donor program.

          • “What else do you think they’d be doing” is as serious a question as “They can’t find anything better to do?” Of course they could find something “better” to do. But I’m guessing that your definition of “better” is different from theirs. In fact, in their minds, what they are doing is probably the best thing ever.

        • Go to a museum, library, play basketball, see a movie, play video games at home, pick up knitting…need I go on?

          • I’m not excusing this behavior but there’s a serious link between a behavior that puts them above the law and in total control and their very real lack of ability to do anything with their lives (either real or as perceived by them, in some ways these are the same thing). The doc 12 o’clock boys does a decent job of exposing this.

  • I saw about 20 of these guys hanging out in a church parking lot around Branch Ave and Alabama Ave SE, I’m betting that was there starting point.

    • You know, that would be a great time to report to MPD. Even if they can’t catch all, they could probably impound quite a few.

      • maybe they can do some surveillance over the course of a week or so to confirm that this is a meeting place then drag in the net and bust them.

  • houseintherear

    According to an officer I was chatting with recently in my neighborhood, many of these guys (especially in the big group that comes through on Sundays) are from out east in counties that abut the city, like PG County. Your remarks are not accurate and also just really disgusting.

    • It’s too bad there isn’t a river they have to cross coming from PGC, so the bridge would create a chokepoint that can be blocked at both ends when they are on it.

      • houseintherear

        I very much agree. It would be a start at the very least. But as we keep reading here and hearing repeatedly, “there’s nothing the MPD can do,” so I guess we’re SOL.

    • I don’t know. I watched the video highlighting the Baltimore group and all the housing in the area looked like low income housing. Not that building low income housing means that all the residents will buy dirt bikes and ATVs, but the video only shows that sort of housing.

  • It’s not like they announce their visits to DC on any social networks or anything … http://instagram.com/p/s5lPnQDZPx/

    PeeWee12ving really loves #bikelife and his mama.

    • Yeah, I can’t understand why the declaration “DC we will be there tomorrow” doesn’t give the police enough information to catch him. He’s practically telegraphing his location. I mean, how big is DC really?
      Gotta give it to him though – he’s got some skills.

  • I am so happy I’m not the MPD – I’ve seen a million suggestions about how to control these guys, but none of them sound like they’d be realistic if you account for bystander safety, laws and backlash.

    • I do not see how photographing and relying on tips, with the possibility for rewards, for locations of illegally used vehicles is unrealistic.

      • It would take work. Expecting MPD to do any more than the bare minimum of showing up AFTER a crime has been committed and (sometimes) taking a report is unrealistic.

        • Add the next layer of bureaucracy to that from council members, and it gets even worse. So many hoops to jump through, and not many willing to make the effort.

      • See below from the MPD. That seems like the logical solution — but it’s not as simple as photographing them and impounding an illegal vehicle as far as I’ve read.

        “I just wanted to add the legal aspects to this discussion. If we do it the right way, and take photos of these guys and then apply for warrants and then lock them up, that’s the end of our job. The court system then determines what happens to them and their bikes, which is to say that if they get released straight away then there is no incentive for them to stop riding.”

  • Last friday while riding my bike down Piney Branch from Arkansas to Rock Creek, I was pulled over by DC police officer “Mauricio”. He informed me I was not allowed to ride my bike on that road. Say what? It was around noon and there were no cars, just me on my bike, with Mauricio yelling at me through a bull horn from his vehicle. Now I’m reading about the ATV riders who are threatening public safety, without being stopped/ticketed, etc and I’m thinking there is something seriously wrong with this picture.

    • should have just kept riding and ignored him. apparently they aren’t allowed to ever chase anyone. ever.

    • Actually, I don’t think you are allowed to ride your bike on Piney Branch Parkway – or any other Parkway for that matter.

      • If you can direct me to some written proof which states I am not allowed to ride my bike on Piney Branch, I will stop riding my bike there. If this is true, it would be a good idea to somehow get the word out to the multitudes of cyclists who ride there regularly – maybe a sign that says No Bikes. It would be cheaper and more effective than Mauricio with his bull horn.

    • That’s crazy. I’ve commuted down that road ~300 times, never been bothered, including when the cops are doing the stings on left turners from Taylor St. So here’s what I could dig up on the law:

      DCMR § 18-1200.3, “Operators of bicycles have the same rights as do operators of other vehicles and in the additional rights granted by this chapter.” ; the sidewalk limitations are in DCMR § 18-1201.9 and don’t apply here.

      But this gets better. That section of road is actually in the Park. So I don’t think DC cops generally do traffic stops there — it’s NPS! Thus bike use is governed by 36 CFR § 4.30, which states “The use of a bicycle is permitted on park roads and in parking areas that are otherwise open for motor vehicle use by the general public.” Parks that deviate from this general rule must clearly state so.

      The Rock Creek Park Superintendent’s compendium (link below) states: “Bicycle use is restricted to paved roads and the paved multi-use trails extending from Wise Road to Joyce Road and from Broad Branch Road to Virginia Ave.” The same document states that you shouldn’t ride off of paved surfaces, so I suppose we could debate riding down that social trail.

      It also explicitly states: “Bicycle use is permitted on park roads, parking areas, and on the following designated paved routes: Multi-use paved recreational trails”

      Curiously it limits bike speeds to 25 miles an hour. Which makes me laugh since I’ve had cars honking at me for “only” going 25 mph on Beech drive.

      But no matter how you slice this: this cop was wrong! I hope you register a complaint and keep riding that route. It’s harrowing and there’s safety in numbers. 🙂 Also, the new trail should be coming in a few years … yay!


    • What happened when you emailed the district commander regarding your situation?

  • I just wanted to add the legal aspects to this discussion. If we do it the right way, and take photos of these guys and then apply for warrants and then lock them up, that’s the end of our job. The court system then determines what happens to them and their bikes, which is to say that if they get released straight away then there is no incentive for them to stop riding.

    While it is true that this happens in other cities. We had it in NYC a fair amount in the summer, DC is much smaller geographically which means that they tend to ride out of their neighborhoods here all over the city which gets the attention of the fine folks on this website. And that makes it more likely that something will actually be done.

    P.S. If you see the officers “chasing” the dirtbikes and you tell the media this, rest assured you’ll get the officers in trouble. So let’s ixnay on the asechay.

    • Is it ok for MPD to “follow” but not chase?

      • Excellent question. So if I’m travelling at a high rate of speed with lights and sirens going, then I am chasing in an attempt to get the offender to stop. That’s bad. If however I’m driving in the same direction as the ATV, without any lights or sirens, at the normal traffic speed while keeping an eye on the young scallywag, then that’s totally fine. That happens a lot.

        You always hope that one of them stalls out on a corner and you can grab the bike. Ironically, they can get the bike back if they own it. You can’t prove that they’re not going to ride it on the streets again. The ATV itself isn’t illegal. If they show up with a trailer or a van to take it away after showing papers that they own it, then they’re fine.

        • Do they only get it back once they’ve paid the hundreds of dollars in tickets / penalties for breaking the law?

        • houseintherear

          YES IT EFFING IS! ATVs and dirt bikes are **illegal** in DC. Hell, when I went to register my Tomos moped, it was like hell trying to prove to the DMV that it wasn’t an illegal dirtbike. Because they.are.illegal.
          I’m having more and more trouble believing that you’re not some bored loser having fun posing as a cop. This is stupid.

          • Simply having an ATV/dirtbike is not illegal. Operating it on public streets is illegal. I believe Anon MPD’s point is that even if the police catch you doing the latter, that doesn’t give them the right to take your property from you. If it’s not your property, then they can.

          • Owning those bikes and atv’s in dc is not a criminal offense. Operating them on public property is.

          • DC law prohibits ATV and Dirt Bike RIDING/OPERATION, not necessarily ownership.

            But yeah it’s easier to call someone else stupid than actually reading words.

          • houseintherear

            So the kids aren’t riding/operating them? That sounds like magic! Neat.

  • On a positive note, the other day I saw a kid pop a wheelie on his pedal powered bike and I kid you not, he rode that wheelie from Quincy all the way to Randolph on New Hampshire. I was quite impressed!

  • Yes, low income housing is totally to blame for this. Let’s stop building low income housing and build only the most luxurious, high-end market rate housing so we can eliminate any possible diversity in DC. Only rich kids should be able to drive around like crazed maniacs in DC. One percent city?

    • I find your posting highly offensive. I’m a minority and you seem to imply that I can’t afford nice things. People with “white guilt complex” can sometimes be more offensive than an outright racist.

      Has it occurred to you that most don’t want anyone driving like maniacs in DC?

      • +100000000. Preach. Some “well-meaning” white folks never stop to consider the feelings of middle/ upper-class minorities (but mainly blacks). They don’t realize that we bear the biggest brunt of “black” hooliganism. Sure, they might have to deal with the generally felt nuisance, but we also have to deal with the resulting reinforcement of stereotypes and suspicion from our neighbors. My high income and fancy degrees don’t mean a damn thing….why did I even bother.

        • If the reason you bothered to earn fancy degrees and earn a high income is to avoid being a stereotype in the eyes of your presumably non-black neighbors, you might want to give some thought to the possibility of widening your goals.

          • That is a sad comment from what must only be a sad and failed person. The term “fancy degree” is ridiculous. No one, of any race or class, gets an advanced degree without a lot of work. You’re really stretching for wounded righteousness.

      • How do you know the ethnicity of the poster?

    • Honestly, as an upper-income black man, I would be all for this. This type of “diversity” does nothing for people like me – it just makes my life harder and reinforces stereotypes and suspicion of people that “look” like me. Let’s be honest, most folks are distinguishing between the “good” ones and the “bad” ones. Given that I don’t have the protective coating of light skin to avoid bad associations, I say, yeah, let’s see the “bad” ones removed. So of us have much more to lose my the toleration of punks like this.

  • I was sitting outside Bravo Bar last night around 8 and they were zoomed up Georgia Ave, it was crazy

  • Unfortunately, the only time I’ve seen these assholes riding in the street, I’ve been walking on the sidewalk. I’d imagine if I was driving around and happened upon them unexpectedly, my Jeep would easily win the battle with a small 4 wheeler or dirt bike. None of them seem to be wearing helmets either… Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.

  • Hey dirt bike riders: if I’m driving (a rental as I do not own a car) and with my kids I will NOT slam on brakes if you cross into my lane.

  • I’m going to start doing wheelies on my bike during my commute. With any luck, the sight of a nerdy middle-aged bureaucrat doing wheelies will kill the cool factor. Join me commuters, we can call ourselves the 9-5 o’clock boys.

    • I’ll join. I’m not sure how I’ll do it in a pencil skirt, but I’ll figure it out. Maybe if I put glitter stickers on my ATV it’ll make it even less cool.

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