“We cannot sit back and watch these people terrorize our neighborhoods and streets any longer without consequence”

From an incident on H Street, NE earlier in the week

The week started with a serious dirt bike accident in Columbia Heights, followed by scenes of 100+ ATVs and Dirt Bikes spotted all over town and ends with, as predicted by many, a very serious incident injuring a pedestrian.

WJLA reported:

“[The driver of the motorbike] popped the wheelie and I guess her shirt or something got caught on his handlebars and he lifted her into the air with the bike and somehow the bike threw her off, right in front of my car,” he recalled. “I seen her, like a bullet comes toward my car, so I stepped on the brakes.”

Cheek said he found her partially underneath his car, not moving. Her injuries were extensive – a broken pelvic bone, broken tailbone and a left broken leg, among other injuries.

In the meantime, her cousin said the biker crashed as well – but she said he stood up, looked back and laughed before jumping on the other rider’s bike and escaped.

Read the full report here.

After reading that story a reader writes:

“After last night’s incident, which could have in all likelihood killed this victim , I would like to know how we as a community can ban together and get some serious changes to the laws and enforcement. We cannot sit back and watch these people terrorize our neighborhoods and streets any longer without consequence. Why does it take a near fatal hit and run to bring about change?”

Another reader shares a conversation they had with MPD after the earlier reports posted here. MPD responded:

“I understand your frustration and don’t agree that we are more concerned about illegal riders than residents…we are acting within our scope of policy and safety for all ….we will continue to use surveillance via the helicopter and try to identify the perpetrators/arrest when we can …. Also seize those vehicles that are on public space when able to do such safely .. This is a challenge for all of law enforcement.

you may call 911 and MPD would respond to this however we will not pursue them/chase them around the streets.”

177 Comment

  • These guys are worse than ISIS. Homegrown local terrorists. City response is the usual BS…

    • “These guys are worse than ISIS.”

      I love this comment, as it points out hysterical this issue is becoming. People need to calm down about these bikes/ATVs. Sheesh.

      • “People need to calm down about these bikes/ATVs. Sheesh.”

        Seriously?????????? did you read the article above???? the girl is still in intensive car and was nearly killed and you think people should calm down? I’m sure you wouldn’t be saying that if it were you, your daughter, your mother, your brother, your son that was hit.

        I bet you’re the type that would sue right away actually

      • c’mon, dude, a person was nearly killed and the group laughed about it. Not saying it’s the same thing as ISIS but this is also not something that people need to just be more chill about.

        • Yet the top rated show on TV now is Sons of Anarchy, a show about a rogue gang of Caucasian bikers that trade guns and drugs and murder people while terrorizing small town residents…

          This is a terrible occurrence, a criminal act leading to serious injury. The individual that created it should be pursued and brought to justice, NOT bike riders that haven’t created accidents.

          I think the whole “laughed about it” aspect of the story is superfluous and simply inserted as an agenda comment to boost ratings for the story.

          This is nothing like ISIS, and you do injustice to the victims of ISIS actions by thinking of it as anything close to this reckless behavior… Nothing good comes out of over dramatizing the situation. Bicyclists vs. car accidents are still a much more harmful problem for DC than this kind of indecent based on the volume of people killed per year. Get real.

          • “The individual that created it should be pursued and brought to justice, NOT bike riders that haven’t created accidents.”
            This is just complete nonsense. Of course the rider who caused the accident shoudl be brought to justice, but the notion that nothing should be done about the REST of the riders who engage in the same anti-social behavior, creating the same unsafe conditions for pedestrians and drivers alike but who have been lucky enough to not have caused a serious accident . . . really? Come on.

          • You seem to have a real hard time distinguishing between reality and fiction. I don’t care what the Son’s of Anarchy or the Duke brothers get up to on TV – none of it is real. Enjoying a fictional story about people breaking the law doesn’t mean you have to like people who similarly break the law in real life. There is nothing hypocritical about enjoying a story about something you wouldn’t want to happen in real life.

          • @dcd –

            Are you proposing that people be arrested and jailed BEFORE they commit a crime? This sets a dangerous precedent, while also being unconstitutional and tied to profiling that led to riots in Ferguson mind you.

            Are you suggesting that a kid (most likely a teenager in these cases) be arrested/convicted for riding any 50cc dirt bike because it’s not street legal? Does this also include irresponsible and unlicensed scooter owners?

          • Don’t be obtuse. You know very well what I am saying – that your suggestion that we do nothing about the problem of people riding illegally and dangerously through DC, but just try to catch punish those who seriously injure someone, is ridiculous – the ostrich method of law enforcement rarely is effective. MPD need to try and prevent the dangerous situation from occurring in the first place.
            If someone were to walk down th treet shooting a firearm, but didn’t hit anybody, would your attitude be, “Oh, well, we’ll just wait until his aim improves, and then try to catch him?” Of course not. This isn’t any different.

          • People love The Walking Dead yet everyone gets mad when I go around biting people.
            Game of Thrones is insanely popular but I can’t carry a broadsword around
            Breaking Bad was critically adored but no one wants their neighbor cooking meth.

            Jack5 thinks he’s clever but he can’t distinguish reality from fiction.

          • I’m pretty sure riding an ATV down the street IS a crime

          • I’m not a troll, I’m using a name here, not being anonymous like you.

            I’m just highly concerned about comments like the ones on here about “driving an old beater through a crowd of bikers at 50mph” because one of those kids may end up being my son. who simply made a bad decision to hang out with a crowd that appeared to be just having fun.

            There are tons of good kids mixed in with the small amount of bad riders, and there are riders not even associated with the 12 o’clock boys that ride through the city, but because of blind ignorance and this perpetrated rage against black kids riding motorcycles, vengeful maniacs may end up retaliating.

            I think we all need to be careful about the fire we’re stoking, and put emotion aside to create a fair and reasonable positive outcome, because some of the comments in this thread have me seriously worried.

          • As an entitled liberal white dude, I have to say I’ve never seen a more clueless entitled liberal white dude comment (whether or not you’re entitled, or white, or a dude). This is sophomoric. And, um, yeah, reckless driving is a crime, even before you kill someone. That’s just the repressive fascist police state we live in.

          • epric002

            i have no rage against anyone (black, male, or otherwise) riding a motorcycle legally or safely. i have plenty of justified rage at being surrounded by over a hundred dirt bike and ATV riders who pop wheelies, ride against traffic, block intersections, and ride on sidewalks. that kind of behavior is illegal and demonstrably dangerous to not only the riders but everyone who encounters them.

          • I cited Sons of Anarchy because it embodies the glorification we have with he show as fiction, yet when it’s in real life, everyone is outraged… The 2 go hand in hand. Kids see the show, and because they’re kids (incapable of adult reasoning and desperate for attention and money possibly) they think that life is a way out or at least a temporary fun path they can go down.

            People suddenly are outraged by this behavior when last summer when it wasn’t real to them they saw the 12 o’clock boys documentary, and even the documentary about “cool disco Dan” and think oh, how novel to reminisce about DC’s days of lawlessness. The harsh reality is that there are kids here who feel disenfranchised and that life isn’t worth living and or following rules. A more constructive approach than cops chasing riders all over the city needs to be the answer, and the generalizations based on race and class need to be thrown out. There are reckless kids anywhere where there is economic inequality, social frustration, and a lack of education, check out Israel and Palestine where people are committing suicide bombings and shooting each other, check out all of the college&school campus shootings that happen in the US, check out Ukraine where a plane full of innocent people was shot down this year. You think you’ve got problems because of a few, even a hundred, rogue bikers in DC?

            Let’s balance this discussion and realize that
            1. These are mostly kids, and minors at that.
            2. They feel they have nothing to lose, so why should they care about your life?
            3. Cops chasing them would create major public safety issues worse than the current ones.
            4. These discussions should involve more constructive comments and less vigilantism.
            5. Some if not most of the riders aren’t breaking any serious laws.
            6 Bicycle riders create some of the very same safety problems every day by running lights and riding on sidewalks, more than these bikers ever have each year, so why isn’t that an issue with as much momentum and attention as this one has been? Should law enforcement be unfair?

      • Are you insane? The girl is in intensive care because she was hit by one of these morons.

  • The standing policy is astonishingly stupid: let rogue gangs of lawless bikers run amok throughout the city. Prediction: someone will be killed in a violent accident for this to be addressed. Until then we’ll have continued lip-service towards “policy.” Well, here’s a thing about policy: it’s made by people, not handed down by god. This policy will get someone killed before it’s repealed, watch out.

  • please start chasing. i’ll stand aside.

  • I guess this group riding has become a “thing” – I just don’t see how it is fun.

    As for standing policy – the policy is against high speed chases right? There has got to be another way to combat this without putting more people at risk.

  • Is the MPD police against all high speed chases or only against pursuing motorcycles?

    How about using helicopters to spot them, squad cars to block off roads and the funneling them towards well placed tire spike devices?

    • epric002

      i asked them the same question and this was their response: “MPD wouldn’t follow with scout cars for incites the group and they just become more reckless….we also were asked why don’t we do roadblocks – these are prohibited also for the group would sprout off to side streets, drive on sidewalks etc … ” total BS b/c they ALREADY ‘sprout off to side streets, drive on sidewalks etc…’

      • It is a canard as old as the sun that “policy prohibits” X good idea, or that Y good idea is “prohibited.” Guess who comes up with the policies and prohibitions? THE POLICE! It is just something that police and their “spokespeople” say to defer, deny, quash, whatever challenge that someone is presenting them with. The police serve the people, the people simply can’t have wild, Mad-Max style biker gangs zooming around maiming and killing people because of a patently absurd “policy.” Come on man!


      • It’s not BS. If they put up a road block it’s not like the whole group would just stop and wait calmly to be arrested. What they would do is change course, and probably not as a group, which might even be more dangerous to bystanders. So the roadblock accomplishes nothing except possibly creating more danger.
        The blatant disregard for the law and for others’ safety angers me too, I want these bozos off the streets as much as anyone but I don’t know why some people fail to acknowledge the difficulties for law enforcement – the police aren’t bounty hunters, they have to do their jobs within certain limitations.

        • jim_ed

          Exactly. Whats would people like the police to do? Spike strips? Intentionally running them down with their cruisers? Shooting them? All of these options are going to end with a lot of dead black teenagers, which I imagine is something MPD would like to avoid, especially in light of current events.
          If you can invent a way to stop these kids that doesn’t involve a high likelihood of killing them or further endangering innocent citizens, I’d imagine MPD would be all ears on your suggestion.

          • Yes, yes, and yes…. that seems to be what police do

          • Drones – they could use drones to photo/film/follow them and then apprehend.

          • Police need to use Spider Man, that would be a totally realistic and much safer way of stopping these outlaws (Providing that they could pay him a strong annual salary).

            I suggest that people who post about methods of catching these riders actually try riding a motorcycle or even a bicycle over a spike strip while running from cops, and then maybe they’d understand why cops don’t use those tactics.

          • @Jim_Ed: What do I want them to do? I want them to think of some response other than shrugging their shoulders and saying, “There’s nothing we can do.” (To be fair, that could just be our resident MPD apologist/purported officer, Anon MPD, but it sure seems like that same buffonery infects the entire force, or at least those who speak on this topic.) I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
            Furthermore, I want to stop hearing from MPD, “What do you think we should do?!?!” I am not trained in law enforcement, and frankly, I have enough to do at my own job to do theirs for them. If they’re so befuddled that they have to crowd-source law enforcement solutions, that’s a pretty sad commentary. They’re the professionals, or so they keep telling us – figure it the hell out.

          • I really like the spike strips idea! As long as it can be done without directly affecting legal traffic, of course (and I’m not sure whether that’s possible). But why should I care if criminals get hurt while committing a crime (reckless driving) that puts others at danger? That’s fine with me – so long as we’re only hurting those who are actually driving recklessly or otherwise committing crimes that put others in harms way.

        • I will also add that I am all for giving MPD more powers to apprehend these folks, and I kind of don’t care if they (the riders) get hurt in the process. But I can’t think of any change in policy that are unambiguously beneficial, so I don’t see any no-brainers here.

          • > I kind of don’t care if they (the riders) get hurt in the process.

            These are the kind of comments I don’t get along with.

            The best solution for enforcement would be for cops and bystanders to take pictures of perpetrators as they commit crimes, and then wait until that person is off the motorbike (later on) to arrest them. Any chase on motorized vehicles through the city would not only be dangerous to the rider and cops, but also dangerous to bystanders who wouldn’t expect it coming down the street.

          • Al Sharpton would be licking his chops if the MPD were allowed more authority to pursue and stop this form of illegal behavior. DC would be burned to the ground within a day of one of these kids dying in the process of running from the cops. It’s a can’t-win situation. This is DC.

        • epric002

          i fully acknowledge that there are significant legal, logistical, and safety challenges here. but MPD’s response that “policy” prohibits anything other than aerial surveillance is unacceptable. what other mob-type behaviors that endanger public safety do you know of where the only police response is to conduct surveillance IOT try to identify/arrest the perpetrators later?

          • Well I can’t really think of any other “mob-type behaviors” that are a semi-regular challenge for MPD. And certainly none that give the mob members such individual speed and maneuverability. So I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if MPD’s policy here is different (assuming it is).

          • epric002

            all the more reason for them to be doing something other than saying “this is our policy”, which IMO translates to “suck it up and deal with it”. they ought to be proactively working to develop solutions to this problem, and even just telling the public something along the lines of “we recognize this is a problem, we are concerned/troubled about it, and we are working on developing solutions” is better than “this is our policy”.

          • Bank robberies maybe? Duh.

          • epric002

            ^ when did mobs start robbing banks?

        • Agree, let’s be realistic about what the MPD can actually do here. I don’t know the answer because these guys will scatter in a hundred different directions, both on and off the street.

          • Precisely. I’m not usually an apologist for the MPD, but in this scenario chasing will just lead to more injuries/deaths.
            And I’ll be damned if more tax dollars go to settlements to pay these kids or innocent bystanders, if they are injured. These kids have no assets, so the city is on the hook for any damages.

          • What if MPD started “escorting” them? Not a pursuit or a roadblock – but lights flashing, normal pursuit – radio a whole swarm of other police cars to actually “lead” the mob while motorcycle cops block off regular traffic on cross streets to let them roar past. Deflate their little outlaw fantasies and protect regular drivers and pedestrians.

            Also, they’re clearly communicating some way with each other to announce these rides – is anyone looking into that?

          • This is why they have surveillance cameras on almost every street corner… I’m pretty sure this entire incident and the perp were caught on video somehow. Let law enforcement do it’s job without conducting ridiculously dangerous movie-style chases through the streets.

    • They come over the river from Anacostia via the Frederick Douglas Bridge on S. Capitol St and leave the same way. I saw them last weekend since I live right on S. Cap.
      It seems simple enough to block the north side of the bridge once they get on it. Have a few cruisers follow the group and barricade them on the bridge from the South. If they want to take their chances jumping in the river, let them.
      Not a perfect solution but it is better than what has been happening. I have videos of them riding northbound on the southbound lanes of S. Cap and the sidewalk adjacent to Nats Park. It is only a matter of time before someone gets killed.

  • I’m going to buy the biggest oldest heaviest car I can and just start running through these hordes. If the cops try and stop me I’m going to floor it and slowly accelerate to 40, maybe 50 MPH if the car feels up to it and watch the MPD in my rearview mirror slowly disappear while they shake their heads and pout hoping I stop.

    • Wow, and there you have it… Justifying public protection by indiscriminately hurting and killing people. Crazy is surging as a stock here in DC folks, watch it…

      • You’re one of those people who confuses “literally” and “figuratively,” aren’t you?

        • And you’re one of “those people” who feel like they can post anything on the internet and not be taken seriously? I prefer to err on the side of caution based on your post, it wasn’t funny at all.

  • The thing that makes me so angry is that the police are actually encouraging the riders by making it widely known that they will not pursue them. If they know they can go out and do something that endangers innocent people and the police tell them in advance that they will not try to stop them and hold them accountable, why would they think twice? I witnessed these bikers/ATVs over the weekend in the city and on 295, and it was horrific. It’s just a matter of time before they kill someone. I don’t care if they want to kill themselves, but no one in this town should have to worry about being hit by these homicidal maniacs. And the police are culpable by refusing to stop them.

  • epric002

    call/email your councilmembers, ANC reps, and the MPD and tell them that this policy is unacceptable. at least one person has been seriously injured already- it is only a matter of time before someone is killed. you can look up your councilmember here http://dccouncil.us/council

  • How about everyone from here forward just start snapping pics from your phones – as if we support and are thrill by them – and then flood the MPD with pictures of their faces… Post them online for others to identify there sons, neighbors, and others…

    Evidence… It can only help.

    • The last thing I’m going to do when surrounded by a gang of people who seem willing to break the law as they please; is take out my $600 phone.

      • justinbc

        Don’t you have insurance?

        • Do people generally carry insurance on their smartphones?

          I figured instead of paying like 150 bucks a year to ATT I could just, you know, not do stupid stuff with my phone that will get it broken/stolen.

          • Wow. This a ridiculous statement. I added an Electronics Replacement Plan to my renter’s insurance for $25/year with a $50 deductible. Replaced 2 phones in one year and rates remained the same. Enjoy shelling out $600 for a new phone that you will probably drop and break this weekend.

          • I’ve heard before that when you file claims against renters insurance it can significantly your ability to obtain good rates on mortgages. I’d be careful about making 2 insurance claims a year of any kind, personally…. they might not be able to raise your rates now, but they sure will find a way to get more money out of you in the future. the house always wins….

        • I hope this is sarcastic, but if it isn’t, that kind of insurance is the one of the most foolish transactions in which you can engage.

      • $600?! I bought my first smart phone last week and only paid $50, plus a $30 upgrade fee.

        • Smartphones are subsidized by cell phone plans so if you sign a new 2 year conference you get cheaper rates on the phone but are locked into the service for 2 years. 600 for an unlocked smartphone sounds about right.

          • I got a Nexus 5 for $350. The thing is great. A top of the line phone for half the price and you can use it with any carrier.

          • @Ryan. Sadly not Verizon. Had to go with a pricey G2. Better camera and battery but much more expensive. Nexus will never be on Verizon again since he Gnex.

    • they’ll just start wearing masks once they realize what’s happening – you have a good idea, but unfortunately it’s an easy fix for the criminal

  • It is false to suggest that there are only two potential policies to address what is undeniably becoming a more substantial problem, to chase or not to chase. I am not an expert on police protocol or anything, but I can imagine that there are targeted solutions that could be enacted. These may include:

    1) a “zero tolerance” policy on unlicensed operators of any motorized vehicle, eg, seize all such vehicles and arrest their operators before the operators are allowed to mass into a pack, creating the dangerous situation that we saw Sunday,

    2) targeted road blocks and/or establishment of a task force to create barriers on roads where the packs of operators are projected,

    3) normal-speed pursuit of gangs until they disperse, continued pursuit until arrest and seizure.

    Bottom-line, something must be done before people get killed.

  • This biker issue is crystalizing the issue of criminals running rampant in the city. And just like I am tired of criminals being coddled by the courts, I am tired of tying the hands of MPD to stop this CHOSEN, abusive behavior – spike strips, cross street retaining bands, whatever works. If the bikers get it’s their own fault.

    Prayers for the injured pedestrian.

  • I drive an SUV and will not be stopping or yielding for these guys. They can feel free to play chicken with me.

    • And then these kids will lawyer up and sue you. Because you have recoverable assets and insurance, since you’re probably a productive member of society.
      Not worth the stress or money, IMHO, even if you are “in the right.”

      • Like these kids can afford a lawyer

        • According to an August 2013 Washington Post article, at least some of the dirt bike riders were able to get a lawyer:
          “Jacquan Brown and Terry Cain are among a group of riders who filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit alleging that police routinely violate the no-chase policy and go too far to get dirt bikes and ATVs off the streets.
          The suit, filed last month in federal court in the District, alleges that D.C. police have routinely targeted young black riders, intentionally hitting rear tires to stop them.
          ‘I’m not saying the police shouldn’t enforce the law,’ said David Shurtz, an attorney for the riders. ‘There’s a difference between harassment and targeting with deadly force.’
          Police officials said officers do not intentionally bump riders and reiterated that the department prohibits chasing dirt bike or ATV riders.”

        • Personal injury lawyers often work on a contingency fee basis, meaning they get paid out of the client’s award if the client wins. (Hence the stereotype of them doggedly chasing clients.)

        • If the SUV driver has enough money and/or insurance, many lawyers will take the case on commission.

  • Nothing will be done until a police officer or someone important is injured or killed by these kids. Or some vigilante tries to clothesline them with a piece of wire stretched across the street.

    • Yep. This happened in SE right? This tragedy certainly isn’t going to change any policy or MPD actions.

    • yikes, using a clothesline would get messy really fast.

      reminds me of news headlines when growing up in the midwest: snowmobiler + unfamiliar farm field at night x stealthy barbed wire fence = quick death.

      • I once ran into a clothesline, in the dark, and was clotheslined. Had a line across my neck for a week.

      • A clothesline will decapitate someone, depending on their speed and the material the wire is made of. Heads will roll, literally.

  • One would hope that the police are conducting an investigation into where the people start / meet / regularly ride / live so that a mass apprehension can be carried out with minimal collateral risk.

    The cops I’ve met on the street do not give the impression of a coordinated approach however. It’s a nuisance issue for them.

    Time to issue big rewards for info on illegal dirt bikes / quads much cheaper than flying a helicopter around.

  • I just can’t believe MPD tolerates this and won’t take the necessary actions to protect DC residents. Blood is on their hands for their horrible policy to let these reckless actions go on nearly completed unabated.

  • If the victim was black (as I assume), there will be no change in MPD policy. We’ll need to wait for a white (“preferably female”) victim before we can expect any real crack down. I really do hope I’m wrong about this.

    • Or a victim who is a lawyer. Either way, you’re probably right. They’ll sit on their hands until the person killed is a Caucasian young professional female coming out of a small plates restaurant.

    • This is a sad and all-too-predictably honest assessment.

  • I am so sick of these kids. I’m all for stunting and having fun but when you are balls-out antagonizing and willingy hurting people to this extent and then LAUGHING about it- i want them all to fly off the bridge.

  • Am I the only one who gets a thrill watching them? Every time I hear them I go and watch.

  • We need to use DRONES to monitor/follow/catch them!

    • I’ve been suggesting this for a while now. It would be ridiculously easy to follow these guys around with a drone until they run out of gas or go home, then send the cops to lock them up and impound the bikes.

      Even half a dozen drones would cost a tiny fraction of what it costs to operate a heli.

  • I definitely had one of these f***ers try to play chicken with me while I was biking home down Q St in Shaw a few weeks ago. He was going to wrong way down the bike lane, popped a wheelie, and made right for me.
    MPD needs to start doing something about this, or I WILL chuck my U lock at the guy’s head next time.

  • KSB

    We could also look to implement a policy offering a reward for turning in anyone in possession of one of these motorized bikes. Because the owners would likely park them anywhere, we wouldn’t necessarily have to arrest the person in possession, but if the tip leads to a bike, pay the person. Pick them off the streets one by one by confiscating them before they have a chance to hit the streets…

    • Unfortunately, it’s not illegal to own them. It’s just illegal to operate them on public streets.

      • epric002

        and the MPD can only seize the vehicles from public property. and when the owner can prove ownership- the vehicle is returned to them.

        • KSB

          Ah, thank you both for the clarification. I guess a push to outlaw possession might be logical then.

          • epric002

            or require some sort of visible registration so that w/o it they can be seized even from private property. and the vehicles ought not be returned to owners w/o first confirming that it wasn’t seized in relation to one of these mass rides; the owner hasn’t been/isn’t under investigation for participating in one of the rides, etc. and im’ not usually a fan of asset forfeiture programs, but this seems like a pretty legit use of them.

      • So…I witnessed the MPD interact with one of these guys earlier this week. Rider just got back to his house and was pulling into his backyard on a quad bike. Police happened to witness this and were in his backyard fast. They ran his ID and noted that he was on probation. THEY DID NOT arrest him or impound his quad, they told him “to sell it” and left. I guess riding around on an illegal quad bike is not a probation violation or they simply did not want to deal with the paperwork. Pathetic.

        • Yet more evidence of how lazy and unserious MPD is about this issue. Pathetic indeed.

          • I saw one of these guys get a bike out of the 5th District evidence lot by ‘proving’ ownership with some completely made up bill-of-sale crap he wrote on notebook paper. Officers rolled it out to the street, dude kick started it and rode off.

  • Where’s Rudy Giuliani when you need him. Hunt them down, arrest them all, and deal with the implications later. It worked in NYC . . . Time for someone in DC to take charge.

    • Is that you Catania? OK fine you got my vote

      • Catania could run on this issue. It would get a lot of people on his side. Many hardworking middle-class folks in SE and NE hate that these kids are buzzing through the neighborhood. Meanwhile, Bowser and rest of the Council have sat on their collective hands.
        Catania needs to get more emotional and visceral, if he wants to have a chance at the crown.

        • Wouldn’t Bowser just say that she thinks that this is also an important issue that she would address as mayor, while not actually saying anything substantive?

      • Not only would I vote, but would make a substantial campaign contribution.

  • Baltimore has been dealing with this problem for years and uses the same policy of non-enforcement. The documentary 12 O’Clock Boys follows the scene over the course of several years. They don’t have a solution either. It’s a more complex social problem than just scofflaws terrorizing the streets (although that is the end result). Part of the reason they do it is to antagonize the police as well as gaining a sense of identity and self-esteem.

    • How is this a social problem? Its people breaking the law. Not just motor violations but also reckless driving and endangerment. Also, I assume most of these kids don’t have licenses. Yes MPD can’t arrest all of them, but if they start busting a few its a start.

      • Well-adjusted community members with options aren’t going to go tearing around on illegal dirt bikes. The documentary does a good job of showing how this is ultimately acting out and being in control of one thing, while everything else in their lives is pretty much godawful.

        I’m not trying to be an apologist and I know this isn’t true for all of the participants in this but it IS a social problem at its core.

        The only thing I can see working, honestly, is some sort of wildly inventive social campaign against this kind of activity, that makes participants look like losers (stigmatize the activity) while continuing to work on the underlying structural social problems. There is no quick solution to this.

        • So we just ignore the problem until we can eliminate poverty, inequality, and the vestiges of racism in modern America? Sorry, no. I’m all for the long and medium term solutions you propose – in addition to capture, arrest, prison, and confiscation to address the immediate problem. Deal?

          • Take a deep breath dude. I’m all for these things too, but as is made painfully clear in this and other threads, there is no clear way to do what you are proposing. Sting operations to confiscate bikes, sure. Maybe some inventive trapping of some guys crossing a bridge. But aside from these there isn’t much that can be done. No matter how much some people here may want it, there’s NO chance the MPD is going to start chasing these guys. The risks are far too great (far greater than letting them zip around as they are now).

    • Somebody always feels the need to mention the 12’o clock boys and the documentary in these threads… Do people realize there is more than one biker gang, and even individual unaffiliated riders it the city than the 12 o’clock boys? *sigh*

  • Judging by the comments on this story and other related ones, this isn’t going to end well. MPD continues to do nothing while residents are getting fed up and these criminals seem to have no regard for human life. I can see someone in a car challenging them and it turning into an all out brawl. (I am thinking of the case in NY where the guy in the Range Rover was surrounded by bikers). These criminals needs to be taken care of now. Maybe the police don’t know what to do, but they need to figure it out.

  • In all seriousness, how long until residents of the neighborhoods these creeps are speeding through start taking matters into their own hands? Because if MPD just sits back and says, “Nothing we can do,” you know that eventually someone is going to get fed up and try to stop them, likely injuring themselves or other people in the process.

    • There are an awful lot of softball games this time of year, which means a lot of working professionals walking along sidewalks carrying aluminum bats. That’s a recipe for disaster if a biker is racing down the sidewalk, threatening everyone.

  • Formerly Broken Jaw

    The sad thing is with good weather this weekend you know it is going to happen again. Since many of these guys don’t live in DC, can’t cops be waiting a tthe border to “greet” them? Is someone in MPD monitoring social media for this?

  • What really upset me is that this morning I got stopped leaving the metro platform because I was holding a large ice coffee. I took a sip as I was scanning out and an officer came barreling at me telling me it’s illegal and that I will be fined next time. They comfortably stop productive members of society for nonviolent issues but throw their hands up in situations where others can get hurt.

  • How about baseball bats? Take a good swing as they drive by.

  • Make it a illegal to have an unregistered/unlicensed bike. Start confiscating bikes without a plate. Photo the plates of those who break the law, and start arresting the owners.

    Seems pretty simple to me.

    • Yeah, because that has worked so well for other illegal things, like unregistered guns.

    • “Start confiscating bikes without a plate.”

      Have you not been following the comments on this topic over the past week? The issue is that there are limited to no options to apprehend them. You can’t confiscate the bike if you can’t catch the bike.

    • I actually think this is one solution to the issue. The law should be changed to require that all forms of motorized transportation or trailers be registered and tagged in the District, even if it’s not legal to drive them on the street. And then require the person who registers the bike be over 16 and/or possess a driver’s license. Then when bikes/ATVs are parked, if the cops see that they are not tagged, they can be confiscated and hauled away.
      The issue thus far has been that the MPD can’t take the bikes when they are parked, so long as the person can prove ownership. Possession of such a vehicle is not a crime; heck, they can even ride them on private property with no issues. Adding a registration requirement (and resulting fee), would give cops pretext to confiscate a bike (1.) in the possession of an unlicensed minor or (2.) without a registration tag.

      • I believe the law is already pretty close to that, the only thing being that if the bike is parked on private property, the officers probably need a bigger reason to take it (i.e. it was directly involved in a serious crime and is evidence), and they should need that. You would not be happy if the police had such a power.

        • They already do. It’s called civil forfeiture, and it’s a major tactic in the War on Drugs. The best part is, they don’t have to give your property back, even if you’re never charged with a crime.

  • Since apparently the DC Parking Enforcement folks are the most well run highly efficient operation in the USA, I say the Council should pass emergency legislation raising the fines to $1000 for this type of behavior, expand scope of their operation, and give rewards to the parking enforcement officers for meeting their weekly ticket quota. Problem would be solved within a month.

    • A $1000 fine isn’t too high when 1) the money could be raised in bits and pieces from a very large biker gang, and 2) the possibility that the fine would be paid with a nearly unlimited supply of drug money. You’d need to make it something like a $10,000 fine. If someone can come up with that amount of cash quickly the FBI should probably get involved.

  • I’d bet money these people are using social media to organize their rides. Maybe MPD could crack the case that way?

  • Remember the A-team episode when they took on the biker gang? That was a good one.

  • I find the do-not-chase policy to be both lazy and utter horseshit. Police, go after people who break the laws and endanger others (and themselves). I’m guessing if I try to speed away from a ticket in my Honda or on my bicycle, you’ll come after me. I see the motorbikes and 4-wheelers resting on sidewalks and at intersections all the time. Go get em.

    Much greater chance that you’ll be hurt by a motor vehicle than a terrorist, even in DC.

  • The biggest thing being missed here is I’m willing to bet a lot of these motorcycles are stolen. As an owner of a street legal dirt bike lime motorcycle I had it stolen a total of 3 times in the last 4 years.

    I’ve seen some of these guys riding around I ktm motorcycles which cost 20k plus when new so there’s some serious grand theft auto likely going on. I know they look like “just dirt bikes” to those not in the know but a lot of these things cost a fortune

    • Yup. The statistics on similar biker gangs in places like St. Louis back up this claim with fact–many of these bikes are stolen property. I can all but guarantee that the one that hit the pedestrian was stolen, which is why the rider was so willing to just abandon it in the street.

      • houseintherear

        Exactly. Which is why any rider who is caught should have their vehicle taken. They can prove ownership and pick it up, just like the rest of society who drives illegally (while drunk, etc). The excuse that these vehicles are “not illegal” in DC is complete horse crap. They are illegal to operate, so they should be seized when being operated.

        • Most of the bikes aren’t street legal anyway, and certainly none of the quads are. The gang has driven by my apartment on Mass Ave at Thomas Circle three nights this week since Sunday, and I’d estimate half of the riders were on either non-street legal dirt bikes or ATVs.

          • houseintherear

            Yes, exactly. However, the supposed MPD officer who commented on this the other day stated that they cannot take the vehicles, because they are “not illegal in DC to own, just to operate”… which makes me continue to wonder why the eff they aren’t taking vehicles that are ** being operated **. It’s such a lazy way to do one’s job. Makes me sick.

    • I think the Washington Post article mentioned that a lot of the dirt bikes turned out to have been stolen.

      • my question is where do they steal them from… is dirt biking popular in the burbs of washington? I haven’t spent enough time out there to see any…

  • If the MPD could assign undercover officers to infiltrate Occupy DC, they can infiltrate these dirt bike groups and get evidence to arrest those illegally operating dirt bikes and ATVs on public streets.

  • Screw chasing these assholes. How about starting with the basics. Nip that shit in the bud.

    1. Where do they store and hide these things? They are not small. Investigative police work can do wonders here. Charge these accomplices.

    2. How are they getting gas? Gas stations allowing direct fueling or kids buying gas in portable tanks, both can be stopped easily with fines to gas stations.

    • Apparently it’s not illegal to own them — just to ride them on the street in D.C. It would be helpful if it were made illegal to own them.

    • What exactly are you suggesting they should be charged with or fined for? None of that stuff you mention is illegal.

      • Figuring out a way to keep gas out of these bikes seems like an idea that has potential. Like, not allowing gas to be sold to minors except when it is put in the tank of a regitered vehicle. Kids shouldn’t be toting around gallons of shoshing gas, no matter the reason.

        • I think that’s a bad solution because it’s a very roundabout way of getting at the real problem, and it’s not going to work anyway. For example, assuming that there are a lot of kids amongst these riders (which I think is a dubious assumption), do you really think they won’t be able to find someone old enough to buy the gas for them? And do you really think unscrupulous gas station owners won’t turn a blind eye? And do you really think that the kids won’t just cross over into PG or Montgomery county to buy gas? And if DC cops are out trolling gas stations for violations of this law, how long before people start complaining that the cops should be doing something useful like stopping “real” crime?
          Sorry but I see virtually no potential to this idea.

  • As a pedestrian, I’m all for the cops chasing these guys – you can always hear them coming a couple blocks away, it would be fairly easy to get out of the way in time (usually, but clearly this poor girl didn’t).

    HOWEVER, I’m torn because, as a DC driver, a police pursuit would concern me – it can be really hard to make room for emergency vehicles on some skinny, one way streets. I predict it would get really ugly with several bad accidents before it got better.

    Good luck with this, MPD; dealing with people who don’t respect the safety of others is never easy.

  • I was on a neighborhood safety waslk with an MPD officer when a group of about 8 of these guys roared through a stop sign, riding in formation. I get the sense that MPD is unable (or unwilling) to get these guys off the street.

  • Where’s the Washington Post on this story?

  • When is the MPD going to actually start enforcing the law? There is a concentration of this problem in Columbia Heights (shocker) and H Street. Yet the cops do nothing. Its getting really old. Where is Bowser at on this???

  • It certainly is illegal to operate a motorcycle without a proper license. To obtain one is a pain in the ass that requires you to take a $200 plus safety course or pass a road test.

    Years ago I’d be routinely stopped by the cops near admo in mass motorcycle pullovers to check the validity if my motorcycle license. Don’t see why that can’t bring this back

    • Because these guys won’t stop for cops who ask for a license check. Riding on streets without a license is a good angle to pursue, since presumably the bikes could then be confiscated as abandoned property, but first you’ve got to stop the thugs.

  • It certainly is illegal to operate a motorcycle without a proper license. To obtain one is a pain in the ass that requires you to take a $200 plus safety course or pass a road test.

    Years ago I’d be routinely stopped by the cops near admo in mass motorcycle pullovers to check the validity if my motorcycle license. Don’t see why that can’t bring this back

  • All of this, combined with the impending ability of DC residents to carry firearms, will soon lead to another Bernie Goetz situation.

  • clevelanddave

    You should be embarrassed with this comparison. ISL would kill everyone on the street, chopping their heads off. These people need to be arrested, sure. What they are doing is wrong and needs to be stopped. But this isn’t a national security matter. What’s next, you gonna compare it to the Holocaust? Just stop. Now.

  • I was walking with my girlfriend last weekend 9/14 in the late afternoon, on 8th and Penn. near the Eastern Market Metro…for some reason there were several cops both in cruisers and on bikes posted about the intersection of D and 8th St SE. While myself and my gf were waiting to cross the street a group of about 10-20 dirtbike/ATV riders came up 8th St and went through the intersection to make a right onto Penn. SE. I turned to my gf and said something to the effect of “That cant’ be legal. None of those bikes have tags.” Plus none of the riders were wearing any type of safety equipment. As they rode away my main memory was of a girl in metallic spandex booty shorts riding as the #2 on a four-wheeled ATV. The cops watched them pull up to the stop sign at D and 8th. Wait for several minutes until the cross traffic cleared, then stop again at the stop sign at 8th and Penn for a minute or two, then go on their merry way down Penn. toward Anacostia. I didn’t see a cop so much as flicker an eyebrow. Since I didn’t know any better before looking it up, I assumed from the MPD’s reaction that riding off-road vehicles on public roads must be legal in DC.

  • From MPD 3rd District:
    “At approximately 9:20 pm tonight, Third District Units observed several ATV’s operating recklessly in the area of 14th & U Street NW. At that time, the Scooter Tactical Unit was deployed to the location to monitor and assess the situation. They were advised that the group had moved up at the Crown Gas Station located at 908 Florida Ave NW. The Scooter Tactical Unit responded and was able to successfully apprehend one individual operating an ATV without incident. Additionally, after fleeing, a second individual bailed off a dirt bike at 9th & T St NW. The members were able to recover that dirt bike for evidence as well. NOTE: the use of ATV’s and Dirt Bikes recklessly on our streets will not be tolerated and we encourage all citizens to alert police when the observe the usage or storage of these vehicles. Thank you”

    • Some people need to be giving “props to the cops” in 3rd District. U Street is WAY too crowded with pedestrians (and drivers) on the weekend for a group to drive recklessly through there.

    • Glad to hear something was done!
      Totally agree that on a nice weather Friday night at that intersection, I’m shocked no peds were hurt by these idiots.

  • Vigilante citizens armed with baseball bats. Drive nails into the ends of the bats. End of story.

  • Someone learned the word id recently.

  • 1. Why the assumption that only white people are against this sort of reckless behavior? Are you suggesting that black people are OK with this sort of thing?

    2. It’s not paranoia is there is a very real threat to public safety, as there is in this case.

    3. I haven’t seen anyone talking about revenge on this thread. What I have seen is people talking about means to protect themselves and put a stop to this harmful behavior when they see it.

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