WASHINGTON — There weren’t any arrests of misbehaving motorcyclists Sunday on the Capital Beltway, but some got tickets during a large gathering that disrupted area roads for hours.
Authorities knew the event was planned, Maryland State Police spokesman Ron Snyder said. So there was some coordination with Virginia State Police, extra troopers on motorcycles were staffed, and police helicopters were put in the air.
Officers rode with the group to ensure that there was a free flow of traffic and to make sure traffic laws were followed, Snyder said.
“Anyone that was deemed to be doing something illegal from a traffic perspective was cited accordingly,” he said. “… No arrests were made.”
The event began Sunday morning with motorcyclists gathering in a park-and-ride area in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Around 1 p.m., hundreds of them poured onto the Beltway and headed toward Landover, Maryland — some traveling on shoulders, going the wrong way on ramps, driving between cars, doing wheelies and creating smoke clouds with spinning wheels.
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Eventually, the cyclists broke off into groups with more than 100 making their way farther around the Outer Loop into Virginia. They stopped on the shoulders and service road near Georgetown Pike for about 15 minutes.
“It is unfortunately that the illegal actions of a few bad eggs can reflect so poorly on the motorcycle community as a whole,” WTOP’s Dave Dildine said. Dildine said there appeared to be many law-abiding participants.
There were a number of wrecks in the vicinity of where the motorcycles were passing.
“There were several crashes on the Beltway — at least three necessitated fire and rescue,” Dildine said. A crash between Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue blocked all lanes and caused a long traffic jam.
Drivers who see behavior that seems aggressive or dangerous should pay attention to the road and try to separate themselves from what’s going on by exiting the highway if necessary, Snyder said. If you can do so safely — hands free — Snyder also recommended calling 911 to report the issue.
WTOP’s Dave Dildine and Mary DePompa contributed to this report.