ATVs, dirt bikes disturbing DC residents as weather warms

As the weather warms across the DC area, residents are noticing a resurgence of all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and dirt bikes on city streets.

It is illegal to operate dirt bikes and ATVs anywhere in Washington, but police are not allowed to pursue riders.

The DC Police Union said that they make about 10 arrests a month for the illegal bikes. They blame the continuing problem on the prosecutors and courts that don't punish the guilty.

"They need to have some serious consequences if you get caught doing this more than once," said DC Police Union Chairman Delroy Burton in December. "Suspend a license, maybe you have to do one weekend day in jail, enforce the fine. But what will stop this behavior is if people know that when they get caught, they will get punished for it."

The maximum penalty for operating illegal ATVs and dirt bikes is a $250 fine and 30 days in jail. Police offer a $250 reward for information leading to an arrest of someone riding an illegal bike.

FOX 5's Matt Ackland found several frustrated residents taking to a local listserv to express their concerns over the noise caused by the vehicles and their families' safety.

"This is not about nagging and complaining folks," wrote one user. "This is a legitimate concern that threatens the peace and quiet of our otherwise wonderful neighborhood... It also poses a significant safety issue."

Another wrote, "I am sick as (expletive) [of] hearing and seeing their stupid (expletive) riding around with such defiance and arrogance. Who else feels as strongly as I do? If you do, WHAT CAN WE DO?"

A spokesperson for the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia told FOX 5 in a statement,

The Office of the Attorney General prosecutes dirt bike and ATV cases presented to us. In fact, from July 28, 2013 through July 28, 2015, we took prosecutorial action in nearly 85 percent of all ATV and dirt bike cases. OAG employs a strategy for prosecuting ATV and dirt bike offenses that includes a team of prosecutors who are dedicated to tracking these cases, fashioning plea offers and sentencing recommendations that take into account the seriousness of a given case and a defendant's criminal history, and filing sentencing enhancements where appropriate.