Frustrated cops are on the hunt for daredevil dirt bike and ATV riders who blasted through red lights, rode on sidewalks, and popped wheelies right in the middle of traffic this weekend.
Their antics terrified people in downtown D.C. and at National Harbor.
Imagine how frustrated the cops were. They were right behind scores of these guys blazing up the sidewalks on Waterfront Drive. But they feared chasing them would put people even more at risk. So the scofflaws got away.
Allen Scott posted video on Twitter of scores of the ATV riders, apparently tired of waiting in traffic, simply jumping the curb and riding down the sidewalk while tourist watched aghast from behind a pole.
"This will not be tolerated," said Deputy Chief George Nichols of the Prince George's County Police. "It's egregious and malicious behavior."
But both DC and Prince George's County Police have "no chase" policies in this kind of situation. "We will not meet reckless behavior with our own reckless behavior," said Deputy Chief Chris Murtha, who is also with Prince George's County Police.
The crew, 60 or 70 in all, had apparently started their ride in D.C. They rolled up heavily trafficked H Street, popping wheelies, blasting through red lights, and weaving in and out of cars.
Police admit this is a problem every summer.They've arrested people and confiscated the unlicensed, uninsured, and unsafe vehicles before. But apparently the riders think their odds of getting caught are low. And on the street and on our Facebook page, there are people who defend them.
"They're not messing or hurting no one. They just going for a ride," said one man, who gave his name as "Rasta Ken."
Police take strong issue with the suggestion that this is some kind of fun game to occupy young people. They say these ATV and dirt bike riders are endangering lives. And they say there are ways to catch them. They say there's no way they're outrunning a police helicopter.
Police also say the guy who's ripping up your street terrorizing the neighbors may be the same guy who was flying down H Street and the sidewalks at National Harbor.