Videos Show ATV Riders Do Brazen Stunts on Area Streets

Police say the videos posted to social media only encourage illegal ATV riding

Nearly two months after D.C. police announced a major crackdown on people who illegally ride dirt bikes and ATVs, videos show ATV riders brazenly doing dangerous tricks on local roads -- including one video that shows a rider apparently taunting authorities.

A video posted to Instagram shows a man on an ATV doing stunts and popping a wheelie on Pennsylvania Avenue in District Heights, Maryland, right in front of a police cruiser driving behind him.

He looks back at the police car in an apparent attempt to taunt the officers -- but the cruiser doesn't chase the man.

Police told News4 they aren't allowed to chase the riders because pursuing them endangers other drivers on the road.

"It's very frustrating for the officer," said Lt. David Coleman, with the Prince George's County Police Department.

Coleman said they have to rely on other ways to catch the riders.

"A lot of it's simply going to be information gathering. It'll be all sorts of different traffic violations. You can see what he's doing - it's pretty reckless." 

Police are using that video and several others recently posted to social media to try to catch the riders. Some of the videos show ATVs weaving in and out of traffic and many riders even reveal their face on camera.

But the videos are worrisome, police said, because they create a fan base for the riders who post them and encourage them to do more dangerous tricks on the roads.

D.C. Council Member LaRuby May and other District officials have discussed creating a public park for the riders to try to get them off the streets.

"They should build a park. It will stop everything. Build a park," ATV rider Andre Wade told News4.

Wade said until a park is built he doesn't plan to stop riding on streets.

"We gonna stay on the streets. We gonna stay doing, riding on the streets. We're not bothering nobody," Wade said.

But Coleman said the riders are a danger and police are actively going after anyone who breaks the law.

"We have seen this in the District and it's really upsetting. This is egregious behavior and it's against the law," said D.C. Council Member Breanne Nadeu.

Nadeau co-introduced a bill that increases the potential penalties for riding dirt bikes and ATVs on city streets. Third time offenders would face up to 180 days in jail and up to a $1,000 fine, along with a one year license suspension.

"We need to deter the behavior because right now it's dangerous for our pedestrians, our residents, our visitors and everyone in our community," Nadeau said.

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