Sunday, September 14, 2014

100+ dirtbikes, ATVs go down 14th Street, Georgia Ave on Sunday night: part of annual ride

It was a noisy Sunday night in Columbia Heights: just before 8pm, about 100 young men on motorbikes and four-wheelers zipped down 14th Street NW, making a lot of engine noise as some did wheelies and other tricks. Few if any of the riders seemed to be wearing helmets or have their lights on.

They passed me going south at 7:54 pm at about 14th and Qunicy, then about five minutes later I saw another big group rolling south on Georgia at Upshur, but it wasn't clear to me if it was the same people as on 14th or a different group.

Apparently this was part of a big annual ride which also takes place in lots of cities, at least according to Twitter user @Aboogie301 who responded to me:

I'd seen something similar back in December, but this group was much, much bigger and seemed better behaved. In December some went on the sidewalks and such, at least when I saw them, they were on the street. However, that people tweeted at @popville that they blew through red lights and that one was hit by a car on H Street NE. Others said they went through Chinatown. Apparently this often happens on Sundays, but today was a special ride.

The scene was reminiscent of riders from Baltimore who were the subject of a documentary called 12 O'Clock Boys -- the name meaning doing a wheelie when they're perfectly vertical. Vice wrote about them a couple of years ago too.

It's kind of wild to see, but at the same time can be quite dangerous -- both for the riders and for everyone else, as riders going into other lanes or on sidewalks could cause hazards for others. I haven't heard anything from MPD about it and asked them for comment on the laws about riding fourwheelers or dirtbikes, but haven't heard back yet. When I asked Twitter user @aboogie301 if this is part of the 12 O'Clock Boys, he said no:
Here's the 12 O'Clock Boys trailer, which looks like what I saw today. Youtube has a lot of videos of different groups doing stunts like standing on the bikes while doing wheelies. From that and what Twitter user @aboogie301 said, there seem to be a lot of groups doing it, of which the 12 O'Clock Boys is just one.



  1. It's absolutely illegal and no, we (as in MPD) won't chase them because it's against policy to pursue vehicles absent some narrow exceptions.

  2. MPD would seriously try to justify ignoring this as an OK thing to do? Since when does arresting someone for breaking the law require making an "exception" to standard procedure. And even if that's true, consider that these jokers are an exceptional nuisance, their behavior is exceptionally dangerous, and -- since their entire purpose is to make a spectacle of themselves -- they'd be exceptionally easy to chase down.

  3. MPD ignored virtually all crime in Columbia Heights unless the victim somehow catches the crime or tracks down the culprits. They are a laughing stock.

  4. A group of about seven or eight dirtbikers (and one-two 4 wheelers) meet on occassion at Wangari Gardens some nights. Usually do tricks up and down Warder/Georgia and some of the intersecting streets. Scared the crap out of me the first time I saw them because none of their lights were on, I look over, and just see a bunch of kids on dirtbikes just chilling.

  5. I live on 14th Street - I don't know their schedule, but they do this frequently, maybe once per week. It's incredibly scary and dangerous.

    Also- it extends as far south as S Street. I've seen them blow through red lights at the 14th and U Street intersection! It would be a miracle if they haven't caused an accident.

  6. I just saw around ten boys drive these vehicles PAST A POLICE CAR on 14th Street NW - driving recklessly, disobeying street laws, and scaring many people! How is this still allowed to happen??? This is extremely disruptive and dangerous behavior. I am so incredibly disappointed in the police for doing nothing to to address this after so many months.


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