84 Comment

  • Bunch of ’em came up the Whitehurst Freeway and then across the Key Bridge (doing lots of wheelies) around 6 p.m.

  • Saw dozens heading south on 295 around 5. On the way home at Brentwood near Home Depot, sat and watched as 6 bikes and atvs heading W went around traffic on the side walk and on the other side of the road. One police van and two police cars were there. All saw it and went in the other direction.

  • I was biking down Montana Ave. NE near W St. NE around 4:40 today and saw some of these guys. An MPD officer came right up behind them and then swerved around them and kept driving; didn’t do anything.

    • I was there exact same time. I called the cops then stopped to talk to one just two blocks away. He just nonchalantly said they were aware and didn’t blink.

      They have no strategy for handling these types of things.

  • They also rode down 14th Street. No police were interfering with their ride.

  • They went through Columbia Heights, down 14th Street around 5:15-5:30pm too.

  • I forget the legality of ATVs? My recollection is that these are technically illegal in the District. But, in practice goes unenforced to avoid antagonizing segments of the community? Sort of anti- Broken Windows approach to policing (ie pick and choose your battles).

    • I believe they don’t chase them because it could quickly escalate to a dangerous situation with ATVs running lights, driving on sidewalks, etc. I’m fine with not engaging in high speed chases, but they don’t do anything else about them either. Bowser and Lanier just kind of shrug and tell us all to be aware of our surroundings; I’m aware of where I am, in a city with a government that is completely in over its head.

  • I wonder if this was the same group I saw tonight going southbound on Route 1 in the Crystal City area, toward Potomac Yard — maybe around 6:15 p.m.

  • Pretty sure we heard some on Georgia Ave around 7:30 tonight too.

  • It is not encouraging to see 6 or 7 sipping around a cop car, then have the same car turn at the circle near home depot and headin the opposite direction along w a police van and another car.

  • hooville

    I always thought the city bikers where utter mayhem as I tracked them over the years… and then I saw the video of their takeover of the beltway today and I am horrified. This is really dangerous stuff and I would be a lot more fearful than the couple in the car is in the vid. There is no regard for human safety, theirs or otherwise, from these people. Disturbing.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VTbbgdHlBYE&feature=youtu.be

    • hooville

      Further, rides like this are just begging for an out of control escalation…
      See: http://jalopnik.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-terrifying-suv-vs-1440131015
      Crazy stuff. And everyone just shrugs and says “can’t stop ’em”.

    • Not quite the same thing. The riders on 495 are older, and those are street-legal bikes. Not surprising though. I see crazy stuff on bikes whenever I have to travel the eastern portion of the Beltway. Usually guys popping wheelies at 70+, or just the general mayhem of a pack of 20+ of them passing on shoulders, racing between lanes, etc.

      • +1 – I am terrified of those guys, not so much that they will hit me, but that they will lay their bikes down and I or some other driver won’t be able to react in time. I grew up the daughter of a biker, and I am incredibly cautious when driving around motorcyclists since it was drilled into me for so long. But people who showboat and do crazy stunts are just asking to be hurt.

    • This is terrifying! I was getting so nervous for the person driving and the passenger recording this, getting in the middle of the group like that.

  • binntp

    Did they actually stop at the red light at the beginning of this video and then go when green? If so, I would say that’s progress…

    • My thoughts exactly. I was shocked to see them stopped at a light.

    • Saw them on Wisconsin Ave in Georgetown around 6 last night. They stopped at a red light and waited for pedestrians to cross at a crosswalk, which was pretty surprising.

      There was a helicopter circling above… not sure if they were following this group.

  • There was a fatal accident this weekend on Benning Road (IIRC) where a man on an ATV with his step-daughter collided with an SUV. He was killed and she was seriously injured according to the report. This stuff is just way out of hand.

    • As a trauma ICU nurse, I can tell you for a fact that all of these kids are one wrong move away from a life ending/altering head injury. There are allowable risks in life (bicycle commuting being the one I engage in most frequently), but popping wheelies in traffic with no helmet is not one of them

    • That was actually on Walker Mill Road, which is in PG County MD…Please don’t bring their problems into DC LOL.

      I may be the only one who doesnt see the problem here, let them have their fun at the cost of possibly losing a limb thats their choice. Other than the noise and the tricks that hold up traffic if your being nosey – which I find to be rather exciting, I’m an outdoorsy person who happens to like ATVs – I dont see the issue here. Lot of unnecessary complaining and Law Enforcement only makes it worse. IMO You have more chances of getting hurt as a bystander if the police get involved. Every accident that I can recall where the police begin to chase the riders results in an accident and its usually fatal.

      If I were to propose a solution, I say build something, somewhere, where bikers/atv-ers can convene. All that vacant space around RFK, those vacant stadium lots, put them to use. I heard some discussion of this being an option by the Mayor and Chief Lanier, but in the end that they will probably throw up some overpriced condos over there instead *sigh*

      • “Every accident that I can recall where the police begin to chase the riders results in an accident and its usually fatal.”
        .
        Right. Except for the fatal accident involving the ATV driver and his daughter two days ago in PG County when they hit another vehicle.

  • Maybe if the Park police or MD state troopers respond to scenes like this, they wouldn’t even make it into the district. That way people will stop blaming Lanier and Bowser- but I know that would never happen.

    • Are you sure they all come from MD? I’m pretty sure there are a few who live around Grant Circle, I don’t know which houses, but they come through the neighborhood shortly after one of these big meet ups is over. I imagine a lot of them come from DC.

  • Those signs are hilarious. As if anyone in this city doesn’t already know it’s illegal to ride ATVs around on the streets. And zero tolerance? Please. Zero tolerance would mean clotheslining these fools before they have a chance to kill or seriously injure an innocent bystander.

    • I would LOVE to see these idiot get clotheslined! Honest to goodness it would make my day. If that makes me a horrible person, so be it.

      • +1
        .
        While they’re at it, they should also clothesline all the knuckleheads on bicycles who “legally” whiz by/weave around pedestrians on sidewalks with zero notification!

  • dcgator

    Oh, I didn’t know this was illegal (seriously). They were in full force last night down 14th…I caught em at V St.

    Interestingly, cop car on V waiting at the light, presumably watching em all go south on 14th right past him/her. A few moments later, the cop just turned right and continued north. Not expecting that he/she coulda stopped/arrested all of these drivers, but that further reinforces the fact that nothing will really be done unless there is some kind of initiative within the force.

  • justinbc

    Reminds me of the mall in Kentucky this weekend where they had 2,000 rampant kids running through fighting and causing chaos. Kids have no respect for the law because they’re never punished. And yet we want even more lenient sentencing?

  • on a related note, I saw a group like this on 4 Dec in Columbia Heights while an ambulance was loading a person at 14th and Irving. a woman asked the cop if the person had been hit by one of the riders–‘no he’s on spice.’ I’m not sure what would’ve happened had it been something more serious–heart attack, head injury, etc.–since there was no crossing through that group.

  • To everyone blaming the police: What do you expect the police to do? If they chase them and something happens to a biker or innocent bystander, the police are blamed. If they ram them with their patrol cars they’ll end up seriously injuring the riders and the cops will be blamed. If they shoot the riders (not necessarily fatally) the cops will be blamed. Either way it’ll be a cops-against-blacks issue in the media. There is no feasible solution to this pack chaos and the riders know it. The only way it will stop is when a fed-up citizen drives their SUV through the crowd and kills a few of the punks. If people want to blame cops for the tough calls they have to make in every single daily interaction they shouldn’t expect them to be super pro-active.

    • +1. I would be all for a thread on viable solutions. Might be interesting if we could crowd source some possible solutions based in reality that doesn’t involve violence.

    • do the police have facial recognition software? if so:
      1) video record the biker gangs
      2) run the faces through the database of mug shots
      3) go to their house arrest them and impound the atv or bike

    • If the city is doing things to address the ATV street takeovers they aren’t doing a very good job of letting the public know. This allows the public to assume that nothing is being done, and draws more attention to instances in which the police are seen in the thick of things without arresting anyone. It is pretty easy to find the social media accounts of ATV riders and thus know where to bust them. A few well-publicized arrests (and perhaps running over an ATV with a steam roller) would placate the general public, but may also result in more ATV riders taking over our streets out of spite.

    • on the video links above, there are some license plates visible. that would be a good place to start an investigation to try to get these guys when they’re not actually on the road.

    • Could MPD set up a blockade and box them in? I have no idea if this is possible, or if it could go horribly wrong, but since they go all throughout the city and plenty of officers are aware of it and have time to call in a coordinated operation, could they pick a place where the built environment makes it easy to barricade and trap them, forcing them to stop and have citations issued, etc.?

      • Supposedly the concern is that the dirt biker/ATV riders would then use alleys and/or sidewalks to get away.
        .
        Seems like the police could choose a stretch with no alleys and blockade the whole street (including the sidewalks), though.

        • Right, or block the alleys with squad cars (which, honestly, wouldn’t even strike me as an odd occurrence if I saw it).

  • About a dozen yesterday afternoon in Edgewood on 4th and Adams NE and 4th and Bryant NE, all doing wheelies up 4th street and swerving in and out of traffic. Someone is going to get killed. Folks in Edgewood repeatably complain to the police about bikes and ATVs in the neighborhood but the Police do nothing. Police know that several are stored behind houses in that area but they do…nothing.

    • It seems like the Council ought to introduce legislation to make _ownership_ of dirt bikes/ATVs illegal. The combination of the “no chase” policy plus the legality of ownership seems to guarantee that this problem will persist.

      • They introduced/increased a number of fines related to ATVs in the most recent round of Vision Zero proposed rulemaking. They’re doing something. Maybe not enough but it’s something.

      • “legislation to make _ownership_ of dirt bikes/ATVs illegal”
        .
        That idea is actually quite preposterous outside the narrow context of this conversation. I don’t like what these guys are doing any more than you do but making it illegal to own a bike/ATV is just never going to happen.

        • I believe there was a bill/amendment (not sure the status) to make parking a free-standing ATV illegal. So, you could own one and have it loaded onto/attached to another vehicle, but not parked alone.

      • Current DC law bans the use of ATVs and dirt bike on DC streets/sidewalks. So if you’re caught, the ATV is confiscated, but can be returned to you.
        .
        Kenyan McDuffie introduced a bill that would increase the penalties for use of an ATV. It’s a useless bill because it doesn’t get at the root of the issue: Possession of ATVs and MPD’s “no chase” policy.
        .
        The Vision Zero bill bans the ATVs from being parked on streets or sidewalks, as well as being used. So, theoretically, cops could seize an ATV when the operator is at a gas station filling it up with gas. Also rather useless since such a scenario would happen once in a blue moon.
        .
        There are two ways of dealing with ATVs: 1) Identify a place in DC where they can be operated legally (this is what both Marion Barry and LaRuby May have suggested, although no one has identified where this magical spot would be and how the ATVs would get to that utopia); 2) Make the possession of ATVs and dirt bikes illegal; that means if the cops stop the ATV, it gets seized and destroyed (and prepare for complaints from the usual bleeding hearts about the racial disparity, racial profiling, etc.).

    • “Police know that several are stored behind houses in that area.”
      .
      By all means, feel free to provide those addresses rather than just asserting the cops know but aren’t doing anything.

  • FYI There is an MPD program providing $250 rewards if your tip leads to the removal of an illegal bike or atv and identification of the driver http://mpdc.dc.gov/b2pu

  • I recently had occasion to visit the DC impound lot in SW and can report that there were thousands of ATVs and dirt bikes literally piled up in the lot. So, they’re “doing something” about this, but police enforcement can’t solve complete disregard for living in an orderly society. And as someone else noted below, if the police went after these guys and one of them was injured or killed you’d have the typical ranting and raving about how police don’t care about the african american community and the guy that was killed was a good kid who loved his grandma.

  • There was an article in the WP about the crazy weather this weekend that encapsulated a lot of DC disfunctionality all in one scene: setting- outside “Southeast Washington apartment” (market rate? doubt it) and this quote: “Jesus might be coming back,” Webster, 44, said, while her young grandson test-drove a new $800 dirt bike. “Or it’s something else. I don’t know. But it’s scary — a little bit scary.”

  • The police took a similar approach to the partying and hanging out on O Street in NW this past summer. No arrests were being made for petty crimes such as drinking alcohol, smoking weed, and/or gambling in public. Which of course allowed the crimes to escalate until three people were killed on that same block over a few weeks. So… the same principal applies here. Do nothing about the problem until it escalates and becomes a serious issue. I am sure there are more innovative approaches to deterring ATV gangs than high speed chases. It’s kind of their job to come up with successful solutions.

    • One reason for not always arresting people for those violations is the lack of severity of crime. The time it takes to arrest and process someone, then do the paperwork, removes officers from the streets for several hours. Most will not get tried, see related articles about the US Attorney’s Office lack of cooperation, and end up being a waste of resources. I went on a neighborhood walk with officers back in the spring and one comment I found to be an honest assessment was you can’t arrest someone out of a drug/alcohol addiction. They need help and services that MPD is not designed to help with.

      • Point taken about not being able to arrest someone out of an addiction, but what about people who aren’t addicted and are just creating a nuisance?

        • Comes down to a conflict between two scenarios:
          .
          1) don’t arrest people for minor crimes; deal with a small number of them committing major crimes later.
          2) arrest people for minor crimes, preventing some major crimes down the line; end up arresting a large swath of the population and causing other problems due to mass incarceration and crippling effects in some communities as a large proportion of them end up in jail and totally unable to reintegrate into the world ever
          .
          Obviously, the goal is to surgically tread somewhere between those two scenarios. But it’s easier said than done.

        • I’m just sharing what I heard when I asked my local patrol officers the same questions. I think it all comes back to what their instructions are or their feeling about public drinking vs. nuisance and the time they will have to spend writing up an arrest that will not go anywhere in the court system. Honestly if we want an answer we need the DC Attorney General (Karl Racine), the US Attorney General’s Office for DC (Vincent H. Cohen Jr, I think), Chief Lanier, and Mayor Bowser in a room together since we need budget for city services to deal with abuse/addiction, the DC and US AG office’s agreeing on prosecution terms, to provide MPD direction on which arrests will be dealt with and which will be re-released immediately.

  • What’s going to happen when a pedestrian is killed or seriously injured? Could the city be held liable?

  • These dudes think they are so badass when they in fact are actually HUGE losers.

    These biker and ATV “gangs” ride around cities like they are some sick crew that can’t be touched but the reality is that they are all just a bunch of losers who have nothing else going on.

    They completely ignore all lights and intersections and routinely put pedestrians and other drivers lives in danger. They “ride” on Sunday’s and “tear” through the city thinking they look cool. It’s sad that these tools truly believe in their minds that they are tough because of their “gang”.

    I have a lot of family in baltimore which is where the 12 O’Clock Boys crew originated so I have followed their story for a few years now. There are deaths because of them every single year and the majority of the time they are the ones who perish. Cops in Baltimore struggled on how to handle these losers because if they engaged them, they would lead the cops on a wild chase and endanger innocent people’s lives (and there were numerous casualities). The best solution so far has been to basically ignore them. I have to agree with their tactic honestly, because these dorks are basically just looking for attention and would love nothing more than a chase. “Check me out on my ATV, the rules dont apply to me!” Actually bro, you’re a tool and nothing you are doing is considered “cool”.

    If you want some perspective on these guys, check out the 12 O’Clock Boys documentary. It’s not a particulary great doc but it gives you some insight into these guys. At first I thought maybe the rides were part of some larger meaning or some type of affiliated gang. Nope, just a bunch of geeks who think it’s cool to “wreak havoc” by “riding”.

    I was downtown a few weeks ago on a Sunday and they were going RIGHT through the busy intersection of K and Connecticut as I was crossing the street. They didn’t stop at any redlights, almost hit 2 people and I literally had to jump out of the way. Then they tried to force their way through a protest. It sucks that there isn’t much we can do about it, and I don’t blame the cops for ignoring them. Rant over.

    • This is actually a genius idea. We simply need to “pivot” these guys’ search for meaning, and we have a great tool for busting downtown protests. It worked out great with the Altamint Free Concert with the Hells Angels. Why not try in DC?

  • I am not really bothered by this, exceptionally as regards pedestrian safety. Much bigger problems in this city.

  • People are seriously saying the cops shouldn’t do anything because it is dangerous? Would you feel the same if it were just a car blatantly ignoring every traffic law strolling through the city? I’m pretty sure if they had any desire to do something about it, they could, and safely. Flattening their tires is a good start.

    • That’s what I was going to say…spike strips. All they would have to do is sit on any number of “known routes” these guys take on any warm day, toss out the strip, blamo. Could take 30 of them out at a time…

      • How would you stop law-abiding cars from being in the way?

        • Spike strips are meant to be deployed at the last minute before the subject vehicle drives over them. Many of the routes they ride near me are clear/lightly trafficked enough, particularly on weekends, that this could be done. Obviously not a solution on H or Wisconsin, but there are places to “nab” them using something like this.

  • The video just posted here was just on the Fox 5 Local News @10. Bet they got their story from PoP.

  • Y’all should consider strongly to watch the Twelve O’Clock Boyz documentary https://youtu.be/5oU0fiFn_IM

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