Jun 6, 2024 - News

D.C. police crack down on illegal scooter activity

D.C. police on the road with two scooters

A police presence in Columbia Heights on Wednesday. Photo: Steven Patrick/Axios

D.C. police are cracking down on motorized scooters and mopeds with a brand-new road safety program.

Why it matters: Under Operation Ride Right, which launched on Wednesday, MPD is deploying officers to neighborhoods across the city to address safety concerns from an influx of scooters.

The big picture: Moped use is way up in cities like D.C. and New York due to a high demand for delivery services, and an influx of immigrant workers looking for a quick and cost-effective mode of transportation. Motor-driven cycle registrations have jumped nearly 165% in the last two years, according to the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles.

Zoom in: An MPD spokesperson tells Axios that police chief Pamela Smith created the program after hearing community concerns about traffic safety. Officers will patrol areas and make sure motor-driven cycles are compliant with D.C. laws.

  • Per police, scooter drivers must have a driver's license, registration, and insurance. Helmets are required. Mopeds can't operate on sidewalks or bus lanes. On the streets, they must comply with the same traffic regulations as cars.

What we're watching: A new bill introduced by D.C. Council members in April would require sellers and renters of mopeds to register their fleets, adding another layer of accountability to their use.

  • It's in committee and will head to a vote.
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