“Motorcycles Cops on the MBT”


A reader reports Friday afternoon:

“I just got home from a long Friday very mad that I saw three motorcycle cops speeding down the Metropolitan Branch Trail at 5:30 PM with no sirens or lights. I am 100% certain that motor vehicles aren’t allowed on the trail and am of the belief that cops aren’t supposed to endanger lives (we all know the reality).”

Side note from REI:

“Met. Branch Trail Safety & Access Study:Public Input Meeting

Date: 6/16/2015
Event Location: REI Community Space at Wunder Garten: 150 M St. NE Washington, DC
Time: 5:30 – 7:30 PM EDT

Description: The NoMa Business Improvement District, Metropolitan Police Department, District Department of Transportation and local stakeholders, leaders and advocates are leading an effort to enhance safety, accessibility and the user experience on the Metropolitan Branch Trail. This effort has been underway since April and the project team is in the process of finalizing recommendations for improvements to be implemented. The team is looking for input from the public (you!) on the concepts and ideas that have been developed thus far. These ideas have come from one-on-one conversations with stakeholders, public workshops along the trail, and over 750 responses from a public survey. Whether you are a trail user or not, your participation is essential to the success of this process.”

Given all the crime reports we’ve heard if they were responding in an official capacity – I think I’d be ok with it. If it deters crime would you support MPD motorcycles on the the Metropolitan Branch Trail or do you think that’d be too dangerous?

21 Comment

  • I’m all for protection, but why not use bike cops? There are several very tight turns and blind areas on the MBT that make encountering motorcycles sound very dangers.

    • Over the past few months I’ve seen bicycle police more often than not on the MBT. They would often be hanging out on a bench somewhere, from the pocket park on S to the bridge to RIA metro, but they were out there. I don’t find it unusual anymore to see a patrol car parked by the RIA bridge.

      • This. I bike commute almost every day, and they’ve been out there just about every day in at least one location on my route, if not two or three (mad props to them for that! Don’t know if it has worked to deter muggings, but it sure makes me feel safer). I don’t think motorcycle cops are a significant improvement over bike cops. They may be able to chase someone a bit more effectively, but IMO that’s offset by the safety risk of having motorized vehicles on the trail.

  • the MBT is so dangerous (muggings and assaults). I’d rather see some cops than none at all, even if they are using it dangerously for transport.. just my 2 cents.

    • albany

      Agreed, I’d rather see bicycle cops than motorcycles of course, but that stretch from NoMa metro to Franklin St. is so isolated that I’d rather have unicycle cops than none at all.

      • Do either of you even use the trail? I use it most every week day and often on the weekends as well. I also follow the MPD lists on crime incidents, especially in Ward 5 where most of the completed trail runs. As stated above, I don’t know the precise stats, but I haven’t seen any incidents on the MBT in the past few months (since enforcement has been stepped up) on the MPD reports, and the trail actually seems to compare favorably to a lot of places in the city where you wouldn’t think twice about walking around – Shaw or Logan Cir come to mind.
        I think street smarts are a must on the MBT, to be sure, but it seems like each and every incident there is sensationalized to the point that people think it’s much dicier than it actually is.

        • albany

          I do actually, much to my wife’s distress. And not knowing the exact stats either, I still get creeped out by that section between NoMa and Franklin, where many of the past incidents on this trail have occurred. Consequently, I welcome any police presence on the MBT (the point of my post) to keep it from reverting to its thunderdome-like past.

    • I second that. Cops on motorcycles is improvement over the lack of cops and number of muggings and assaults on the MBT in the past.

  • Something similar happened to me on the 15th St bike lanes near Treasury. Scared the crap out of me when I tried to pass someone and saw a motorcycle barreling toward me. If police motorcycles have a need to use the bike lane, I think slower speeds, sirens and/or flashing lights should be on to make their presence obvious to slower moving bikes and pedestrians.

  • I’m fine with this if it’s in pursuit of a suspect, but MPD should have guidelines for when and how (sirens?) it’s appropriate and I wouldn’t mind seeing repots after any occurrences (what was the call? were the suspects apprehended? any injuries?).

  • I’ve seen a police cruiser (sedan) driving down the met branch, and I was ok with it. People want police presence on the trail. Did this poster actually think their life was in danger, or is this some more grandstanding and faux outrage?

  • This Saturday, around 11:30am, on a beautiful day full of other trail users, three African American men in their early to mid twenties approached me on bikes just a bit south of where the trail meets 8th St., and blocked my path and wouldn’t let me proceed. I called 911 and said I’m on the phone with the police and they left. I also saw two people on a scooter on the trail in the same area.

  • And you know what – you’d write in to complain if there were more muggings on the MBT due to lack of police presence. I welcome any increase in DC police patrols or presence on the trail. Thank you to the district and chief for listening and responding to requests for more officers along the route.

  • The writer clearly has a chip on their shoulder.

    Patrolling a bike trail on a motorcycle isnt putting your life in danger. Calm down.

    Its also not disallowed. The sign applies to everyone besides EMS and cops. I thought that was implied.

  • Would rather pull over to avoid motorcycle cops than get clonked in the face with a brick or mugged, which is what has been happening on the MBT in the past.

  • Let’s make sure MPD emails, faxes you in advance that they’ll be using motorbikes on the bike trail… times and locations included… How dare they!

  • I’ve used the trail frequently since the new pedestrian bridge to Rhode Island Ave Metro opened and while I haven’t personally felt unsafe on it, I don’t mind the the patrols by officers on motorbikes. I’ve definitely always thought that it would make a good place to rob someone, I’ve just never seen many suspicious individuals on it. Yeah it’s lazy for cops to be on motorcycles and not bikes (and probably a little more dangerous), but I understand if this is the most efficient way and will stop these horrible crimes from occurring.

  • I’ve seen cops driving their actual cars on MBT before and frankly I was happy to see it. To me any MPD presence on the trail is awesome and I don’t mind if they’re in tanks or hovercrafts. Complaints like this make it more difficult for police to keep the whole neighborhood safe, most of which isn’t an off-street trail.

  • What’s more dangerous than the police motorbikes are the bicyclists who barrel down the trail doing 30mph+ narrowly passing walkers, joggers, and other riders.

  • I also commend the improved police presence on the trail, see them all the time, would also welcome MPD tanks and hovercrafts too.

Comments are closed.