Serious Motorbike Accident in Columbia Heights


A reader sends just after 7pm:

“There’s been a serious accident with the motorcycle kids at 11th and Euclid.

They apparently were zooming down the streets all evening. The kids attempted to pass a driver who was going east on Euclid and about to turn left into our alley at the northwest corner of 11th/Euclid. I talked with the driver and got her story, as my house abuts the alley entrance and I just returned from work.

The kids tried to pass her from behind on the inside as she made the turn. The motorcycle scraped along the left side of car, ripped off her side mirror and the kids went flying off the bike. No helmets.

Apparently the passenger and driver are father and son with the son being around 12.

After the bike sideswiped the car, the motorcycle drove up the sidewalk and the passengers were ejected at the part where the lawn meets the sidewalk. The father tumbled onto the lawn head first, while the child fell onto his arm on the sidewalk.

The child’s arm is injured. According to the car driver, the father appeared to be fine for the first few minutes. Then suddenly he started spasming/convulsing and went into shock, eventually laying on the grass.

Some of the friends/neighbors of the bikers arrived on the scene and initially began harassing the driver prior to the arrival of the police.

Overall, a sad scene and the cops are in possession of the bike.”

166 Comment

  • I passed these guys around 630 tonight. These guys were running red lights and almost smashed into me as I made a right turn. When I honked at them, the driver turned around and shouted at me, which I couldn’t hear. They were being extremely dangerous.

  • Feel sorry for the child. Hope, if the Father survives, they throw him in jail. I also hope the police take these punks seriously – saw an ATV almost run over a woman walking her dog – on the sidewalk – a few weeks ago at about 10 pm.

    So dangerous. So stupid. Get them off the streets, MPD.

    • Yep, throwing the father in jail will be the best thing for the child… +sigh+

      • Yes think about what’s best for the child. Just like his father did throwing him on a dirt bike with no helmet then driving it illegally resulting in a crash that injured the child.

      • Yes, this father is a net negative and the kid is probably better off not having him in his life. From what we can gather so far, the father us teaching the kid to break the law and that to put others lives at risk is not only ok, but a cool hobby to have. Honestly, even the sexxtons have better family values.

      • What a ridiculous point. The father shouldn’t go to jail because he has kids? Come on. +sigh+ right back at you

      • Oh liberals. So funny.

  • These guys are always zooming up and down the side streets between 11th and 14th with no regard for pedestrian safety (or their own, for that matter) Sorry to say it was just a matter of time before someone got hurt .
    Hope they also crack down on the ATVers in this neighborhood. With cops all along 14th and Columbia, you’d think they could do something.

  • Saw a dirt bike racing on the sidewalk at 13th and Columbia last night. Have seen whole packs of dirt bikes and atvs other nights, mad max style. No lights, no helmets, going wrong way on Columbia Road. Extremely dangerous, obviously. Very sad people were hurt especially a child. There will be more accidents if MPD doesn’t do something.

  • And they’re yelling at the driver, like it wasn’t their own recklessness that got them into this mess. Living in a city means not being able to drive like a maniac and expect that no one is going to cross your path, idiots.

  • MPD has already said there’s nothing they can do about the dirt bikes and ATVs. Pretty pathetic.

    • Is it legal to drive them on city streets? If not the bikes, the ATVs? I know it is where I’m from. And the police can go after them for wreckless driving. That’s illegal no matter the vehicle.

      • I assume you haven’t been following the thread, or the issue. “Dirt bikes” and ATVs are not legal in D.C., but the police have a no-chase policy, and thus police rarely get the opportunity to cite those who own/ride them with anything.

  • Dad most likely has an epidural hematoma. If he didn’t have surgery very quickly he is most likely dead.

  • Multiple people have suggested that MPD “just do something”. What would you suggest they do? Shoot their tires out? Start high speed chases in densely populated residential areas? Block off the streets? I’m genuinely not sure what remedies would be effective — but my guess is that those of you demanding “something” aren’t either. While I agree that the bikes are a menace, I’ve been told that it’s important to be sure that the remedy isn’t even more dangerous and potentially more dangerous to bystanders than the original crime. How do other cities handle this problem effectively?

    • One reason I pay for professional crime fighters is my expectation that THEY can figure out what to do to keep me safe from obviously dangerous and illegal behavior. I understand their rationale for not pursuing, but surely they can do SOMEthing. Go undercover and infiltrate the gangs and do a sting? I don’t know, but waiting for innocent people to take on a lifetime of guilt for having hit/killed one of them cannot be the best way to address the problem.

      • Using “gang” in the sense of a bunch of guys, no idea if they qualify as a “gang” in the sense of an organized criminal group.

        • According to, one definition of gang is:

          a group of youngsters or adolescents who associate closely, often exclusively, for social reasons, especially such a group engaging in delinquent behavior.

          I’d qualify the kids who ride all over Northwest on their ATV’s and dirtbikes with total disregard for the safety of others as a gang.

      • Excellent point, re: paying professional crime fighters to figure out how to stop the criminals. Of course we’re not sure what would be effective. Anonymous 8:35 thinks that’s putting the critics in their place??

    • How do other cities handle this problem? I can’t answer that, but I can tell you that they do. Perhaps the DC cops should be asking this question.

      • How about seizing the bikes, which are likely unregistered. Ticket or arrest the drivers who likely don’t have motorcycle endorsements on their driver licenses or are too young to drive. Or ticket or arrest the drivers who are violating traffic laws (riding on the sidewalk, riding the wrong way down the street, speeding, etc.).

        • the problem is catching the drivers without endangering the public.

          • Yeah, that would mean listening to and *gasp* responding to calls from the public. We are TRYING to report these brats, their locations, their descriptions.

          • yes but logistically how do you catch them?

          • I just don’t buy that there’s nothing the police can do. There’s just not enough political will. I guarantee you that if there was an accident involving a dirt bike and a city council member, this would be resolved. How about you start off with impounding any dirt bike that’s parked in the city that’s not registered?

          • They have to store the bikes somewhere, and it shouldn’t take any kind of over-the-top investigative work to figure out where.

          • How do you stop any reckless driver?

        • Going after the bikes and ATVs is the only feasible option if they cannot catch people while they are riding recklessly. The Council could make more stringent/more expensive registration requirements to get these vehicles off the streets. Similar to laws aimed at pitbulls, this hurts those of us that use these toys/pets responsibly. But this collateral damage is worthwhile to prevent future accidents.

          • you think these bikes are registered?

          • How about require registration at the time of purchase… of course this would call for a partnership with Virginia & Maryland. That might prevent future fools from driving around in this GANG.

            Pass a few laws about regulating this GANG and their toys, thereby adding power to enforcement when they are caught or crash. Make examples of a few, nothing like a good public shaming.

            With time the older ones, like DAD, will eventually either grow up or crash…

          • Public shaming will have zero impact on people who ride these bikes in this way. Impound the bikes, levy huge fines for the various infractions — make it expensive and inconvenient to keep ripping around the district endangering people.

          • Most of the bikes/ATVs are stolen or taken to settle a debt. No license plates, registration, and VINs are grinded off. By the time the kids get these bikes, there’s no way to know who originally bought the bike.

      • DC cops seem to think “there’s nothing we can do” and “we can’t get into a chase with them” are the same thing, so they do nothing. I get the safety concerns of chasing them, but how about you do a little police work and figure out who they are and take action when they aren’t riding past you at 60 mph? And the city counsel could make some laws with significant penalties for riding a dirt bike or ATV in the city.

        • Under current law, possessing these bikes is not illegal, only riding them on public space. So someone can own one and ride it on private space, or bring it to another jurisdiction to ride Unless there is good evidence that someone was riding it, police cannot take action. And the automated traffic enforcement is specifically authorized in the DC Code for issuing tickets against the regsitered owner of a vehicle, not the driver. For unregistered vehicles, that doesn’t help.

    • Not run lights, and simply tail the offenders in plainclothes/unmarked cars to their final destination, where they can be arrested for all traffic offenses captured on dashboard cams.

      There. Was that so hard?

      • justinbc

        If the laws of physics are relevant to your discussion, then yes, that’s quite hard. An unmarked car traveling at 30 MPH which is stopping for red lights cannot keep up with a dirtbike traveling in excess of 50 MPH, weaving through traffic and alleys. Unless there’s some sort of interdimensional blackhole you’re aware of that you’re not telling us about…

        • Your discussion of physics are irrelevant in this situation. The folks in this situation had been riding around the neighborhood “all evening”. They must stop at some point. Arrest them then.

        • Deploy the police helicopter – those bikes have to run out of gas or be stored somewhere. If the police CARS show up – they will run and hide – and the chopper cops can spot where.

    • Well MPD could start by just being present. Drive around the area and just let their presence be known. I blew a red light on my bicycle and a cop pulled me over, I don’t know why they can’t at least try.

    • Actually it will most likely create even more problems including an even larger population of disenfranchised folks with nothing to lose.

      • Would someone PLEASE think of the “even larger population of disenfranchised folks with nothing to lose.”

        Society has the obligation to let these folk run free, right?

        I’m not saying they should be sent to Attica for life, but is asking them to follow the law really too much?

        Coordinating via radios, shot spotter tech, traffic cameras, contacting city officials, are some of the steps. However, once winter comes, people will forget about this until next summer.

        BTW, I can totally see Muriel Bowser making this “disenfranchised” argument in defense of the riders. I’m a liberal, even somewhat of a bleeding hart, but c’mon these folk need to be off the street, and if you take your kid to rude along, then the kid needs to be taken to a better environment

        • The comment about people with nothing to lose was made in response to another comment which has apparently been removed — it was not a comment about atv riders.

    • Step 1. Photograph bikes that are being illegally used. Step 2. Offer rewards for individuals that report this dangerous behavior. Was that hard? I saw one of these dumbasses almost hit a 5 year-old kid on my block, so I have little sympathy for the bikers.

      • Agreed that there’s something other than “high speed pursuit” than can be done in this situation. Something like what you’ve described would be a good start. Another bigger step would be an undercover investigation to infiltrate the group of riders to figure out where the live, etc., then impound all of their vehicles at once to put them out of business.

  • Not today, but pretty sure I have seen two riding the green dirt bike on 14th st going south by Target.

  • Same guys zoomed down our side street at about 6:20pm, I’d say going at least 55-60 mph. No helmets or protective gear

  • I’ve been driving when these guys come screaming past, and it’s always my fear that one of them will do something particularly stupid and end up under my tires. What a horrible feeling it must be to have hit someone, even knowing it was 100% not your fault. And then to get harassed by the other motor bikers on top of it. I hope she is OK.

  • This is a BS from MPD. Does anyone believe that they don’t know who these people are? Take a video, track them down, and take all their shit away from them. And if they ever endanger a child like this $%@#$^ then send them to jail for attempted murder.

  • Do something? How about using those ticketing cameras et al to ID people, following them with a helicopter, heck there’s many things they can do without needing to engage in hot pursuit. Saying there’s nothing they can do is just MPD being lazy and negligent…they’re just waiting for a few fatalities to do something.

  • I saw someone driving that same bright green bike like an idiot up 9th Street where it turns into Florida weaving between cars and running lights around 5:30pm. Not at all surprised.

  • MPD officer talking here; There really isn’t anything we can do about it. Strict pursuit policy does not allow us to chase them. If we do, and they crash, they sue the department for a ton of money, and being as tho is DC they’ll win or get a big settlement.

    There are far more pressing issues that require undercover work, such as actual street gangs, robbery crews, major drug rings, ect. These are local groups of people that you can’t just infiltrate with some random dude walking into their crew. No one will stand for wasting resources on a nuisance dirt bike riders nor risk the danger of undercover work for such trivial stuff.

    The helicopter costs $1500 an hour and is more useful/busy with canvassing for robbery/shooting suspects and violent criminals. It’s not practical to launch the chopper every 10 minutes when a group of dirt bikes/ATVs are spotted. Also, the helicopter has to get clearance from Reagan Airport, Secret Service and additional authorities every time they want to go up. They can’t just hop in and fly as they please; there are heavy airspace restrictions, even for police, in DC.

    Not easy to identify these bikers as they go at high rates of speed and through traffic, and you can’t follow them (i.e. chase) to get an ID on them. There is also the fact that most of them, especially the chronic riders, wear ski masks.

    What has to happen is the public to stop crying and complaining every time a police officer chases one of these guys and the “angel” crashes and dies. None of them stop, in fact, a lot of them like to get chased by the police and will try to antagonize them into a pursuit.

    Just deal with it. This is what happens when the public revolts against effective police tactics and tells police how not to do their jobs.

    • “MPD officer talking here; There really isn’t anything we can do about it.” Sorry, this is an unacceptable answer. Having gangs of Mad Max-style motorcycle and ATV riders running roughshod over our community must be stopped. I don’t care how expensive it is to use Falcon One, just do it. It will be a cheaper cost to society than when a child is killed or an elderly person run down in the streets. If it’s so hard to use the helicopter, then use a cheap remote control drone to follow them home, then arrest them there. You don’t need to pursue them recklessly, at high speed, just follow them home and impound their unregistered, unlicensed machines. Deploy flat-tire strips, box them in, use gazers to disrupt the electrical systems. Every single person I talk to in the neighborhood wants MPD to crack down on these idiots, from newcomers to longtime residents, rich & poor, young & old. Just do it. Make the effort and get them off the streets. It’s your job.

      • Boxing-in is against our General Orders. You can’t follow them anywhere. You will be told to cut it off, and that means CUT IT OFF. Or you could risk getting suspended for 20 days for an unauthorized chase. If you want to change the policy, lobby your council member. Cut the officers slack. We aren’t miracle workers and we work under strict policies. I mean, we aren’t even allowed to chase stolen cars for god sake. We can’t chase a car which was taken in an ARMED CARJACKING (violently pulled from your vehicle at gunpoint) if the car is located the next DAY. So kiss your dreams of us getting these dirt bikes good bye, or tell your council member to force change on our policies.

        Or join MPD and handle it your super-hero ways yourself.

        • If MPD did more community oriented policing, got out of their cars and talked to the citizens, built relationships and walked a regular beat, they would be able to figure out who is riding dirtbikes and stop them. If you’ve been talking to the same neighborhood kids for years, you should be able to get some information about who is riding ATVs through the neighborhood. Instead, I constantly see cops sitting in their cars, texting on their phones. Get out. Walk around. Be a cop.

          • Amen. A great deal of the quality of life stuff in DC boils down to this. Our police are unwilling to prevent crime. They only react to crime, and only when it suits them. (See: multiple PoPville posters who were bullied out of filing reports for things like muggings and home invasions. Crimes the cops knew they’d never solve. Which in turn discourages reporting of other crimes.)

        • “lobby your councilmember” – this one is key. No one was paying attention earlier this year when Phil Mendlson and the others changed key parts of the law on a number of quality of life issues, making it harder for officers to be able to do anything on everything from loitering to drugs to chases.

          • I totally agree with this. The city needs to pass a law that says, clearly, that the police CAN chase you if they feel it is appropriate, and that YOU, the one being chased, by attempting to evade police are automatically indemnifying the city against any outcome from your action and you are also assuming liability for any collateral damage.
            And, society just needs to own up with some personal responsibility. If there was someone with common sense on every jury, nobody would bother trying to sue because they crashed while trying to evade the police, because no jury would ever uphold it. Personally, I think not only should you not be allowed to sue, but 100% of your assets should be seized and you should be put on a labor crew for a decade or more for risking the lives of your fellow citizens by being so stupid.

          • the concern isn’t about the police harming the criminals (though their hilarious $100M lawsuit can’t be ignored) – it’s about them accidently killing an innocent bystander.

          • Glad to know what laws you think the people who get paid to make laws need to pass. Often the people who get hurt in police chases are bystanders. The person being chased cannot indemnify the city against a lawsuit by a third party (e.g., a bystander or family thereof) who is injured during the chase. Regardless of whether you agree with the policies governing when the police are allowed to pursue a suspect, a lot of thought by a lot of thoughtful people has gone into making those policies.

        • So I can rob a convenience store and just jump on a dirt bike? Our laws really are backwards.

          • that doesn’t mean that you will actually get away with the crime, you know right? just because they can’t chase you, doesn’t mean that you will never get caught.

        • Going to the councilmember is the correct response, but I would keep the anti-chase rules and just ban or strictly regulate atv ownership in the city.

      • justinbc

        ” I don’t care how expensive it is to…”
        Began no reasonable response ever.

    • justinbc

      Awesome response. Always great when someone who actually does do a job that’s being criticized provides insight to the uninformed masses as to its challenges.

      • Really? You think “we can’t do anything, just deal with it” is an awesome response from someone in our law enforcement community? I guess my expectations are higher.

        • justinbc

          I’m guessing you didn’t read anything beyond the first sentence? He/she laid out explicitly why they can’t do anything in this situation. If you’re upset as a citizen you’re wrongly blaming the actual officers when you should be blaming those who make the policies. Cops aren’t going to go rogue to get these guys.

        • His answer was more detailed than that. Way to skip over the details and explanation.

          • +1
            The cop’s response was really detailed and well reasoned. Ultimately, responsibility for the policies regarding chases lay at the feet of politicians. Cops need to do what their bosses tell them, otherwise they get in big trouble. I can’t blame them for that. And there’s simply not enough money to investigate/chase these kids over a misdemeanor crime.
            So citizens can do two things here: 1.) advocate your local politicians to change chase policies and 2.) advocate for higher taxes so the police have more money to investigate and target these kids. If you don’t want to do either of those, please STFU and quit your whining.

          • That’s a really gullible way to interpret what the MPD officer said. To taking the buck-passing at face value is what got us in this ridiculous situation where the people paid to protect and serve sit in their damn cars.
            Ok, you can’t chase at high speeds. So… give up? No alternatives imaginable? I can think of a few. These events often happen at the same time of day, in the same neighborhoods. Use 911 calls (or even actual police eyes and ears — those things are loud!) to locate offenders. Coordinate with radios to follow without chasing. One officer loses them down an alley, and radios to say they’re headed east parallel to Park Road. The officer stationed at Park and New Hampshire hears, spots them coming out of the alley, follows as long as he can, then radios the place he lost them and the direction they’re headed. Use speed cameras and red light cameras to provide evidence in the trial.
            But that would take some work and coordination. You wouldn’t be able to check your email or text your girlfriend while this was going on.

          • Sorry, but what you’re suggesting requires massive amounts of resources and manpower for a misdemeanor crime. If I’m MPD , no way I’m doing that. Why? Because when violent crime goes up, I’m in a lot more trouble than I am now for not using my resources “appropriately”.

          • *sigh* You’re really determined to be dense about this, aren’t you? No, it would NOT require “massive” amounts of resources and manpower. It would require a couple of thoughtful hours for one officer to prepare, and ONE hour for 3-4 officers to execute, provided you get the right hour. (Which is easy, because it always happens in the afternoon/ evening.) Say 10 officer hours total. Not everything needs to be done by brute force. Using the information provided by the public, the hundreds of automated cameras, and ideally, their own community involvement, they already know where to be and who to look for. It’s just a matter of witnessing the lawbreaking so they can testify and seize the equipment.
            Why won’t MPD do that? Because there are no actual reports of crimes that this action would clear from their stats. No official report, no fu&ks given by police.

    • i remember when i was young, we used to try to get cops to chase us. it was a lot of fun for kids with not a lot to do, and a lot of anger and frustrations to express.

      no, not much that can be done about it. but i do know that prevention and working with kids does a lot more than punishment. almost always, punishment and harassment makes people more criminal.

      • I don’t think anyone’s saying we shouldn’t have mentorship or other programs for kids. But the fact that they are troubled does not give them the right to endanger others – MPD needs to start seizing bikes. It’s only a matter of time before an innocent bystander is injured or killed by this reckless behavior.

        • MPD does seize a large number of bikes. Head down to the impound lot sometime and take a look through the fence at more than a hundred sitting there at any given time. Plus maybe 100 more sitting at the various district HQs.

          Bikes/ATVs are regularly sold online at auction in lots of 10 to discourage local kids from buying them back. Often a restriction will be placed on the auction that buyers must be from outside the metro area. They are really only sold when there’s no more space on the lot for new seizures. Whatever you think about the “hot pursuit” issue, both MPD and DPW are very much on top of this.

        • oh, i know no one said that. i’m not arguing with anything. just expressing my frustration and thoughts. i agree with everything you said.

    • I don’t buy it MPD Cop – several good examples of something that could be done have been given here.

      – Unless you are authorized to speak for the Metro Police in this capacity, be sure to clarify this is just your opinion and not the official policy of MPD .

      For an MPD Cop to say “There really isn’t anything we can do about it” is just stunning.

      ( It – A crime happening over and over and over again, all year long, in the neighborhood).”

      I for one don’t like this answer. I pay high taxes for a reason.

      • justinbc

        Several “ideas” were provided, whether or not they were good, realistic, or even possible is very much up for debate. When he says there’s nothing he can do about it, it’s in reference to an actual police officer. Again, you’re barking up the wrong tree. You should be directing your frustration towards the elected officials and those in charge of policy making, not the average beat cop who can’t act outside his regulated authority. Or, more realistically, put your anger to use at the actual morons who do this behavior and on changing the culture that glorifies it.

    • Reply from the DC Police:

      We can’t do anything about it. We don’t care enough. And we made up a rule that says we can’t. And it sounds like work. The actual problem is you. The problem is the you’re unhappy we don’t do anything and have the gall to point that out. Can’t you see if you just shut up everything would be perfect?

      –Signed your sworn-to-protect public safety enforcer.

  • I saw them speeding through the stop sign at fairmont and 13th at approximately 6:10 pm today. For a fleeting moment I thought of calling the police but then changed my mind since that would be of no use. I have no sympathy for either of them. There actions are irresponsible and endanger the community. There are quite a few of these bikes coming in and out of the projects near Cardoza High.

  • And the police are not lazy. The vast majority of us at MPD would love to chase and/or lock them up if we could. And we occasionally bag one here and there.

    • So even knowing that they do and will do this again on 14th means nothing? So if I rape and murder a dorm of coeds, all I have to do is hop on an ATV?

      Let me guess, these incidents are not reported?

      • Hop on an ATV, or steal a car and lie low for one day. After that, you can even keep driving the stolen car, and no one will hassle you.

    • “And the police are not lazy.”
      With all due respect, that is not my experience, or the experience of may people I’ve talked to. All too often, we see police sittign in their cruisers, looking down at their phones, not interacting with the community at all, even when illegal and antisocial behavior happens all around them. They just don’t care (and certainly don’t care if it’s more than 75 degrees outside). Anecdotal, yes – but I’ve lived here a long time, and it’s never changed. (And try to get one of those “not lazy” cops to fill out a police report on a low-priority crime, like a package theft – often it’s like pulling teeth. It may be that Columbia Heights is just unlucky, and most police in the rest of the city are busy their entire shift, and aren’t lazy. But I kinda doubt it.

      • +1

        All personal experiences and anecdotal evidence point to MPD being absolutely permeated, top to bottom, by a culture of laziness that ranges anywhere from negligence to outright obstruction.

      • I once tried to give an MPD officer sitting in a cruiser the license plate number of a car I had just seen perpetrate a hit and run. The officer looked up at me, said “I’m off duty” and went back to his laptop.

      • I saw a truancy officer in the backseat of an SUV asleep. The last cop I saw who appeared to be “walking a beat” was sitting on a retention wall massaging her feet.

        They’re always jawing by LeCaprice.

    • how do you know thats how the majority thinks?

  • OK, so we’ve established that the preferred option, having law enforcement solve the problem, is apparently off the table. Fine. And I assume we all (or at least a quorum) agree that the status quo is also off the table. Well then, it kinda looks like the only viable option would be for the populace to handle the problem. So if we could just get an assurance that no upstanding, hard-working, decent citizen will be prosecuted in the event that that a lowlife learns that antisocial behavior can be kinda risky, then we’ll just proceed with getting things squared away, nnnnkay?

    Or are we just going to keep doing what we’ve always done, i.e., wringing out hands and complaining in the hopes that that will magically solve the lowlife problem?

    If nothing else, can we at least have immunity for lethal wedgies so we can put a stop to the saggy pants foolishness once and for all?

    • I know you are fed up hence the name, but there is pretty much nothing in that rant that is helpful.

      MPD id limited by the constraints put upon them. It isn’t that they can’t/won’t (though there may be some of that) it is that within what is permissible by the regulations, procedures, and laws there is only so much they can do. That is pretty much the same with all crime. I am not an apologist for the police but I am a bit realistic.

      As to chasing down these morons, what the MPD doesn’t want to do is put more people at risk chasing after vehicles. There have been some pretty horrific accidents that maimed/killed people just driving because a high speed chase took them out unawares. I much prefer not high speed chase than a story about some mom and her kids dying because they were hit by the suspect OR officer who was chasing them down. This is from what I understand pretty much police procedure all over the country and NOT somehow specific to MPD.

      • Thanks, ET, for the judgey-preachy review and comment. I wasn’t aware that helpfulness was a requirement for all posts; I’ll try to do better next time. So as the great Steve Martin used to say, “excuuuuuuse me” for expressing frustration at the fact that, for a lot of reasons (some valid and some not), having a bunch of idiot lowlifes running around disturbing everyone’s peace and putting everyone in danger actually does appear to be the very best that we as a community can do.

        I do think there are viable non-police alternatives for addressing a lot of this kind of stupidity (which, BTW, don’t necessarily involve chases), but the big barriers are individual will and social institutions that are engineered to protect our worst citizens from any possible risk or liability for their actions. While what some would call ‘vigilantism’ obviously brings its own set of implementation challenges, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t merit consideration seeing as the status quo obviously isn’t viable. For any such alternative to work, though, would require some changes in perspective that I don’t think most folks are ready to accept. IMHO we’re getting the society we’re asking for—so again, there’s just no point to all the actionless wringing of the hands and complaining.

        Obviously, the preferred option would always be to have a viable law enforcement apparatus, so if you want to do as the MPD officer suggests and lobby for the handcuffs to be taken off the good guys, I’ll be right there with you…

    • Dude, I have seen you post this copy-paste remark countless times. Get real.

      • So being frustrated with our community’s complete failure to manage this kind of behavior isn’t “real”? Gee, i must’ve misinterpreted all those comments above–apparently everyone is just thrilled with what’s going on, then?

        And one isn’t entitled to a different perspective or ideal approach, radical though it may be, if they haven’t vetted it with you and Anonymous 11:49 for palatability? Gosh, sorry, I’ll try lo be more conform-y from here on out. I wouldn’t want to go putting any non-approved remarks out there. My bad.

    • One of these assholes damn near hit me on the Irving sidewalk between 15 and the Metro! The fucking sidewalk.

      If someone left caltrops in the alleyway for them I wouldn’t say a word.

  • Look, it’s simple here. Our pursuit policy is very strict. To break it down for you it works like this; only violent ARMED recently occurred (i.e. it happened that day) are to be pursued. Strong arm robberies – no, robbery snatches – no, unarmed violent assaults (that don’t result in death) – no. So this is basically it. ADWs, armed robberies, shootings, maybe stabbings, and homicides, armed sexual assaults are fair game….. if it happened within that day. It is a terrible policy and it is very frustrating for the troops. Stolen cars are used for the vast majority of these crimes, and once its passed that small timeframe, in the eyes of the upper echelon, that car merely becomes a simple stolen car again. So you can forget about dirt bikes – and despite some of ya’lls opinion, the only way you’re gonna catch these guys is chase them till they crash or jump off.

    If you want this to change, go to your PSA meetings, get the populace to inundate your council members with emails and such telling them that you want stricter enforcement action against these dirt bikes. Do this until they take action and force MPD to change the way we do things. And make no mistake, the patrol officers would love to go after these felony cars and these dirt bikes, but we can’t because of the command staff – and no matter what your feeling is about this, no body (and you wouldn’t either) is gonna risk losing a 1-2 months of pay over chasing someone for a misdemeanor crime. Until you force the change (hell, email [email protected] with your dirt bike concerns), MPD won’t do anything because of this:

    • MPD Cop. Thanks for contributing to the convo with some interesting insight. On this issue, I agree with you. It’s not the police’s fault that they have these restrictions on pursuing dirt bikes. People need to be emailing their city council members if they want to see some change.

      • But it IS the officers’ fault that they have given up, rather than find alternatives to high-speed pursuit. The bit about “responding to REAL crimes” is patently false. I have seen officers in uniform, with their official vehicles parked illegally (no doubt they would say it’s so they can get to them quickly in case they need to fight crime), sitting for HOURS (I am not exaggerating) around my neighborhood. Often four or five officers at a time.

        • justinbc

          How do you know what they were doing? Did you ask them?

          • Regardless of what they’re doing, the fact that a lot of people THINK they’re just surfing the web on their phones means they at best they have a PR problem. At worst they really are just sitting around waiting to respond to crime, rather than trying to prevent it.

    • MPD Cop, thanks for your insight into this situation. What are your thoughts on the feasibility of MPD setting up the occasional drunk driving or “Click it or Ticket” check point along the routes popular with the dirt bike and ATV drivers? Chasing these kids would be dangerous and, understandably, not a police priority but setting up stops that put a hiccup in their joyriding does seem like it would help address this quality of life issue. Yes, there are more dangerous criminals out there than kids on bikes but please know that concern about less serious crime like this is, in a weird way, a compliment to MPD.

  • By the way – roadblocks are outlawed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

    • No, no, no. Roadblocks PERIOD are not considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Roadblocks that isolate a particular community without reasonable cause ARE considered an improper exercise of police power. It’s all about the details – and MPD leadership doesn’t do it because they are worried about coming down on the wrong side of a lawsuit. I understand the concern, certainly, but setting those limits on policing obviously has negative effects on the community.

    • The above statement is not factual.

      • Oops, that was meant for MPD Cop. Cleary’s statemt is factual.

        You can’t roadblock to single out a group of people (immigration roadblocks). But you certainly can if the road is in danger (crazy motorcycle groups running red lights and stopsigns).

  • Sad scene? The operator of the motorbike was apparently behaving recklessly. He’s lucky he and the kid aren’t injured worse.

  • accendo

    Very unfortunate. That type of activity is wholly inappropriate in the city, IMO. Take it out to an un-populated area and wear a helmet.

  • that bike sped passed me on 14th around 6:30 too. Running red light. what a dumb fuck. I only feel sorry for the car that hit them, its traumatic. and with all the cops “patrolling” CH, no one bothered to stop them. So fucking lazy.

  • this looks similar to a bike i’ve seen on Rhode Island Avenue. the guy has been riding wheelies through traffic for the past week. very bold.

  • This quote from a WJLA article on these bike riders suing the city for $100 million dollars says it all – remember folks trying to stop these morons from killing pedestrians or their own children is “racial profiling” :

    “They wasn’t going that fast, but it was enough to knock me off,” said D.C. resident Don Whitaker.
    Whitaker said last summer an unmarked cruiser that hit him on his now damaged bike never stopped, leaving him to hobble home bruised and bloody.
    “They just taunting us,” he said. “They just want to mess with us. I feel unsafe driving out here now. That’s why I never got my dirt bike fixed.”

  • I live on the edge of Georgia in CoHei and would like to see something done, as it’s a quality of life issue around me – and I don’t even drive that often. However, as the MPD officer above pointed out, their hands are tied with current policing regulations. I think we can agree this is only happening in a few wards/precincts, and there are only a few gas stations operating in those locations, right?

    Suggestion: repurpose a few of the many MPD cams deployed recently and place them outside these few gas stations likely serving dirt bikes. network them together and have one or two MPD monitoring at all times, ready to alert nearby beat officers when a crew is fueling. Then hope the MPD gets there before the bikes leave.

    • they fill gas cans, not bikes.

      • I’ve seen them–group of at least 20–refilling bikes at the gas station at Georgia & Upshur. They almost mowed down my fiance and me as we were walking down the sidewalk on Upshur St.

        • Do the bikes use the same gas pumps as regular cars? If so, require them to show registration? If not, if they are filling cans – could we require someone to show a license or registration to buy a can of gas? (Which might also have prevented that horrible nightclub attack a few years ago.)

          • That’s not really feasible. There are lots of legitimate reasons to need a can of gas. Lawnmowers, weedwhackers, chainsaws, generators.

          • This is a nonsensical solution. I can buy a used gas can on Craigslist for $5.
            And you’re going to require gas station owners to check all registrations before selling gas? Um, LOL.

          • Good point above about the gas cans, and good counter also re: these guys being brazen enough to roll into a gas station on the bikes. I still think focusing on refueling is the best way to address this for the MPD, but I don’t think requiring showing registration for filling up a gas can would be a good idea, especially considering how many out of state contractors rely on local gas stations when doing yard work and construction. If the MPD surveillance suggested above notices certain individuals, not contractors or landscapers, buying inordinate amounts of canned gas frequently, then they’d be able to tie those purchases to a licensed vehicle and then focus on the vehicle owner as a person of interest. The only way the bikers could get around this would be to hike back and forth carrying individual cans, which would — even with these things getting 50 or more miles a gallon — be a huge pain for them.

  • Almost got creamed by an atv while riding my bike down U-Street/Florida Ave after they blew a red light. They will get whats coming to them at some point, as karma has clearly indicated here

  • brookland_rez

    This is messed up in so many ways. I ride a motorcycle, and all I can say is the riders got what they deserved.

  • I always love how the same people Darwin seems to be out to get harass the driver who was legally using the roadway for interfering with their illegal use of the roadway by being physically present and using the space lawfully. If you’re zipping around on the hills of Columbia Heights on an illegal dirtbike, you deserve what you get, and you deserve to have it amplified for not wearing a helmet. No pity for these bikers from me.

  • What the majority of these posts are forgetting is that we as a community need to help MPD enforce the crackdown of these motorcyclists. I’ve lived in DC all my life and lived in Petworth for 13 years as a new homeowner. I moved into Petworth when there were open air drug markets on every other block and dirt bikes doing wheelies up Georgia ave. The cracking down of these “gangs” or parents and their kids riding unlicensed motorcycles can start by taking a little time while these bikes run up and down your alley to see if the garages/houses these motorcycles live in can be identified. Much like the police cracking down on the drug dealing, it takes the community to inform the police of where these stash houses are. Twenty years ago DC residents turned a blind eye or were scared of informing police about their neighbors, friends, family and kids selling drugs. If we don’t want kids, grandmas and innocent civilians being hit by unregistered motorcycles then we need to discuss these issues at our community meetings and help MPD find solutions. We need to help inform the MPD on where these groups of guys hangout and what houses they reside, many times right over the MD boarder. We as a community need to turn in illegal motorists for endangering other peoples lives no matter if they are our neighbors, friends, family and/or kids.

    • justinbc

      That requires personal responsibility though. It’s much easier to rant about police offers on a forum than turn in your neighbor who you know has a dirtbike that he takes out every night. (although I highly doubt the average forum poster on PoPville is the same person who shares an alley with these guys, but the point remains the same)

      • brookland_rez

        Most of them live in SE (EOTR) and PG county. I had a friend that lived in Hillcrest, and he said the dirtbikes/ATV’s were out of control in the summer on Southern Ave, Suitland Parkway, etc. Personally, I’ve seen them on those roads, as well as Branch Ave, even Indian Head Highway.

        • The kids driving around CoHi each night are from our neighborhood. They are not a huge posse, like the ones you see zipping around U Street on the weekends. They usually travel in groups of 3 or 4 bikes every evening after school/work.
          Many of come from the large low income housing development at the northeast corner of 11th/Florida Ave; I have a few friends who have recovered their stolen Vespas in that development. Others are coming from various houses in Petworth, Park View, and CoHi; they work on their bikes in their backyards and in the alleys. If the cops are following them, they will also stash their bikes in the backyards of the many houses that are under construction (or sitting empty awaiting construction) and then pick them up later at night. They are definitely locals who intimately know the alleys and streets.

  • MPD uses ShotSpotter to estimate the location of gunshots in the city already. I’m not sure how the system works, but it’s possible that it can be used to also see where these motorbikes are operating. These vehicles probably have a significantly different sound signature than cars and perhaps different than most motorcycles. This isn’t to say that MPD could rush out and catch the riders since that could endanger the public, but the data could be used to see where the riders operate. Heck, it may allow MPD to figure out where the bikes are stored and impound them (if unregistered).

    • Exactly. They just need to get the bikes on some sort of camera and then perhaps offer rewards for individuals who know where the bikes are stored. Just impound the bikes. I’m not talking about charging felonies. I’m talking about protecting people.

      • brookland_rez

        That sounds good.

      • Only operating the bikes is illegal, not owning them. So again, unless police catch someone while they are operating it, police cannot just impound it. People are allowed to own them and drive them on private property, or transport them to another jurisdiction to ride them.

  • they need those things they have in the movies which shoot tracking devices onto vehicles you want to follow. somebody get on this.

  • I’m not trying to be funny, but doesn’t MPD?DC Police have motorcycles, segways and mountain bikes, where they could follow these people and see where they end up? I’ve seen this group come from Park Road NW and pull out onto Georgia Ave while two 4-wheelers blocked traffic on Georgia Ave. They’re so loud as well, I’m sure deaf people can tell when they’re coming.

  • I live in Petworth and several years ago, in the “pocket bike” era when those things were EVERYWHERE, I saw a child who appeared to be about 6-8 years old riding a moped/dirt bike down the sidewalk recklessly and with no helmet on and immediately called 911. Less than 10 minutes later I saw a police car go by with the little boy in the back seat and his moped in the trunk of the police car.

    So if there is a no chase policy, how did THAT happen? I was pretty impressed.

  • a couple of weeks ago I witnessed an ATV and dirt bike being started and coming out of the alley on 4th street NE, just north of Rhode Island. I took pictures of the individuals and reported it to MPD, but have heard nothing back. I’ve seen these idiots blasting through red lights, weaving through traffic, driving the wrong way on one way streets, and even driving on the sidewalk! And if that isn’t enough, I am sure that none of them have a motorcycle endorsement on their license, if they even have a license, non of them are wearing helmets (illegal in DC) and none of the vehicles are even street legal because they do not have license plates, headlights, tail lights, break lights, or turn signals. Not to mention that most of them are stolen.

  • MPD Cop: You didn’t respond to the folks who said MPD officers are lazy, don’t want to file police reports and only sit in their cars. Is that part of the policy that you’re not required to file police reports for petty crimes such as package thefts? Are MPD officers not able to get out of their cars and walk around the neighborhood?

    • justinbc

      He’s doing you a courtesy by responding to any of this nonsense at all. Of course he’s not going to sit there and argue all day with a bunch of forum trolls with misdirected anecdotal anger.

      • Great. Why don’t you answer some of my questions. Thanks!

      • houseintherear

        I don’t get why you are commenting again and again and again in defense of everything MPD. Are you seriously not frustrated by the above posted story? Or have you just picked a side and are now troll-ishly defending it? Because I’d like to think any tax-paying DC resident would be frustrated and even disgusted at the story and the supposed MPD officer’s response that nothing can be done to stop this kind of thing… perhaps I’m wrong. That would be sad.

        • +1

          And keep in mind, the “this kind of thing” we are talking about is illegal and reckless behavior that endangers innocent bystanders and resulted in the injury of a 12 year old and the possible death of an adult. Really, nothing can be done?

        • justinbc

          Yes, but my anger is with the father in question, not MPD. They didn’t act recklessly, he did. It’s a cultural thing that MPD isn’t going to just stop, and certainly not with the restrictions they currently have in place on their officers.

        • Or perhaps Justin thought the MPD officer’s response was logical and made sense. How come so many of you have ignored the dude’s suggestion of contacting your council person? Why harp on MPD repeatedly and not our policy makers? Want to encourage the MPD to go after these dudes? Elevate the crime to a felonly.

        • What you don’t seem to understand is that MPD has a limited amount of resources at their command. If they were to set up an elaborate sting to catch a few dirt-riding scumbags, they would be diverting resources from more pressing safety issues. Try thinking about this rationally: what would [the rational] you do in MPD’s place? Giving chase through a busy city is off the books for obvious reasons. Through out some helpful suggestions.

          • Read the rest of the thread! NO ONE is suggesting high speed pursuit through city streets. MANY PEOPLE are suggesting other, practical ideas.

  • One concrete suggestion is that there is a Yahoo Group for each PSA in DC. Most are very active, with at least a representative if not the actual command officers checking posts. Whatever PSA this is, I suggest starting a conversation there about the ATV problem in that area.

  • This has been an issue in Baltimore for awhile (I haven’t read all of the comments, sorry if I’m repeating information). Anyway, they have caused serious injury and even death.

  • Here’s an idea: Use small drones to keep an eye on motorbike activity and follow riders to their homes. Once the bikes are stationary, send police to go pick them up.

    Drones would be cheap to use and could follow the bikers anywhere without needing to chase.

  • I don’t exactly know what happened (ie, if this was following a violent- same day crime or something) but I have seen the police in a high speed chase with these kids. This was probably around 14th and T at a red light on a crowded day. A bunch of people including myself were about to cross the street in the crosswalk when about a dozen ATVs and dirtbikes-no helmets–flew across the intersection. No exaggeration, they were probably doing about 60 THROUGH A RED LIGHT. I was so certain I was about to see something incredibly violent that I was already cringing and holding my hands up to my face. Anyhow, they were being pursued by a bunch of police cars also driving fast, all with the sirens on down 14th street (heading south). Whatever the law is or whatever, I just remember thing “I hope you get those guys” It really is a miracle that no pedestrian or car was hit by the ATV/Dirtbike gang

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