A dangerous ‘spectacle’: At least 3 of 150 ATV drivers arrested for Sunday ride

WASHINGTON — At least three people are under arrest after more than 150 ATV riders swarmed throughout downtown D.C. Sunday. One man whose bicycle was hit by an ATV said more needs to be done to curtail the dangerous organized rides.

“It’s just really disrespectful for these people to come into the city or organize a ride like this that puts property or lives at risk,” said Eric Adler, hours after his bike was hit by an ATV rider on his way to a D.C. United game with his family Sunday.

Adler was riding past the District Wharf with his wife and 9-year-old daughter, and said they waited for the large group to pass before crossing the street to talk with a D.C. police officer. Adler believed the officer was recording the procession on his body-worn camera and wanted to discuss the strategy of letting the illegal riders pass. Minutes later, while straddling his bike in the crosswalk, an ATV driver clipped his bike’s back tire, bending it beyond repair, Adler said.

“They were just doing wheelies and things that could have easily put them out of control and at the same time they’re trying to evade police and weave between cars. It’s completely reckless,” Adler said.

In the police report Adler filed, the officer said some of the 150 ATVs were traveling the wrong way on one-way streets. He said the driver that hit Adler was on an ATV that had a red and white triangular pattern.

Riding or operating a mini bike, dirt bike or ATV anywhere in D.C. is illegal. Detectives have arrested three people in connection with the ride and are reviewing an array of videos and photos of the suspects involved “in this reckless behavior,” said D.C. police spokeswoman Alaina Gertz in a statement.

Videos posted by observers on YouTube and Twitter track the large group of ATV drivers from Arlington through Georgetown, into Logan Circle, to the District Wharf and through Southwest past the D.C. United stadium.

“In the coming days, we will be releasing videos and photos to the public in order to obtain further information about the identities of each rider. Those who choose to break the law will be held accountable,” Gertz said.

Adler wants more action from the Police Chief Peter Newsham and Mayor Muriel Bowser as the instances of organized ATV rides have plagued the city, especially in the summer months, for years. He admitted some observers, like his young daughter, were amazed at the “spectacle” of the large, colorful ATVs, but Adler said it’s a pastime that can easily turn dangerous.

Megan Cloherty

WTOP Investigative Reporter Megan Cloherty primarily covers breaking news, crime and courts.


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