D.C. Government says simply:
Minibikes, ATVs, and dirt bikes are designed for off-road use and may not be driven on city streets, sidewalks, or any other public space within the District of Columbia.
It further states:
It is illegal to ride or operate a minibike, dirt bike or All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) anywhere on public space in the District of Columbia (including streets, sidewalks, alleyways, bike lanes, public trails and other public locations).
And continues to say on the same webpage:
Illegal on Public Space
- All Terrain Vehicle (ATV)
- Dirt Bike
Although this is city government’s official position ATVs, dirt bikes, and motorbikes can be see on D.C. streets; openly breaking the law without question
“Take to the streets of D.C. long enough, and you’re bound to see a few of these kid speeding along the streets racing each other,” mentioned D.C. resident Clyde Hawkins, “or doing tricks and wheelies and stuff.”
In 2013, D.C. police union President Kristopher Baumann warned the public and law enforcement alike, “It is going to end in tragedy one way or the other.” And it appears he was right with a recent shooting in Southeast D.C. where local reporter Charnice Milton, 27, was shot and killed at a bus stop on Good Hope Road, and the suspect was believed to have been on a dirt bike.
In fact, last week alone, two of the six people killed in the District were the result of the shooter on an illegal motorbike. City police officers are under strict orders to NOT CHASE these illegal bikes or try to stop them and to never pursue them, and the riders know this fact.
One major reason the police doesn’t pursue the riders is its hard to catch them. It’s easier to get away than chasing a car or truck and potentially puts more pedestrians in danger.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s spokesman Lt. Sean Conboy tells D.C.’s Fox 5 the police department will have a new enforcement strategy soon that will intercept the dirt bikes while they are parked.
Another resident said, “It ain’t uncommon to see these dirt bikes on 7th Steet, U Steet, Benning Road, Minnesota Avenue, or other busy locations in the city. I’m not saying every person on one of these illegal bikes are breaking the law, but I am saying these bikes ain’t suppose to be on the streets and the city really ain’t doing anything about it, really.”
Since MPD doesn’t chase riders, they’ve attempted to get the upper hand by swarming riders when they stop at gas stations to fuel up; that is if they know who the person is, and the range they’d have with whatever bike they’re on, and — most importantly — if they have to stop at all.
A supporter of the dirt bike riders said she wants to see cops going after bicycle riders who weave in and out of traffic with the same tenacity as these dirt bike riders.
“Y’all spend all kinds of money building these bike lanes and then set laws to protect these bicyclists, but don’t do anything to these people when they don’t even use the lanes and clog the streets and make it tough of pedestrians, cars, cabs, and busses,” she said. “How about y’all go after them too.”
Hawkins doesn’t see it as a problem. “I don’t think you can compare bicycles with offroad vehicles and bikes,” he said.
He continued on, “When you have people riding these bikes and they know the cops aren’t going to chase them, it’s as if they may feel they can do whatever they want to do. When you have a person with that kind of thinking, all I can say is, ‘Look out!’.”