D.C. Bike Life Campaign submitted language for a proposed ballot initiative measure to D.C. Board of Elections in January. We are here to expand legal access to dirt bikes, ATVs and UTVs in Washington, D.C. District of Columbia government has been pretty fluid by offering licensing and registration of other non-traditional vehicles like the Polaris Slingshot, a high powered motorcycle, offering pilot programs to address mobility needs, like the dockless bikeshare pilot program and even expanding categories of other 2-wheeled motor propelled vehicles. In contrast, we see a lethal response to illegal riding of dirt bikes and ATVs. #BikeLife interactions with law enforcement can be lethal and represent a disproportionate response to the act of riding alone.
This year, 4 proposed ballot measures have come before the DCBOE. Two of these measures have been approved for circulation. The first two of the year were rejected. The Board of Elections set DCBLC’s subject matter hearing for 4/4/18. This hearing would be when they decided on allowing or blocking our path forward to signature collecting. On April 4th we testified at 1015 Half Street SE before ‘The Board’ to speak to their concerns as well as those of the Jeff Sessions for the District, Attorney General, Karl Racine. At the hearing, ‘The Board’ delayed the vote until an Executive Hearing could be held at a later date. This week, D.C. Board of Elections published their May 18th decision to approve our measure for petition circulation.
Based on the arguments presented at the April 4th hearing, the board found that our measure did not add a task that would require greater DC DMV funding, our measure was not vague and therefore did not violate the Fifth Amendment and that D.C. Metropolitan Police Department had no records as evidence to support the claim that D.C. relied on, or would lose revenues from the cancelling out of fines and arrests associated with illegal #BikeLife operation made legal. Unfortunately, instead of due process we faced delayed process. After our vote was delayed to a private Executive Hearing, DCBLC was not notified about the Board of Elections decision officially, as promised on the record.
Primary elections are on June 19th, the Board of Elections made their decision on May 18th. They have 20 days to draft the official language, then there is an additional period of 10 days where the language can be challenged. After this process they’ll schedule a hearing where we pick up the official petition to hit the streets. Our goal is to get on the ballot for this years general election on November 6, 2018.
During our delay, the #BikeLife community and our community as a whole suffered another tragedy. A D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer put their cruiser in front of Jeff Price on May 4, 2018. With the cruiser blocking the crosswalk, turned towards oncoming traffic, Jeff had nowhere to go. He and his dirt bike struck the cruiser, the passenger side window shattered and the passenger side airbags deployed in the Ford Explorer police cruiser. This would be the last event of Jeff Price’s 22 year old life.
Since the launch of D.C. #BikeLife Campaign, the month May has been the most violent in terms of interactions with D.C.’s police forces and citizens.
January 26, 2018 – DCBLC submits language to decriminalize illegal use of non-traditional vehicles, allow registration and limited use of dirt bikes, ATVs and UTVs on public roads
April 4, 2018 – The Board of Elections holds a hearing on the validity of DCBLC’s “D.C. Bike Life Access and Use of Non-Traditional Vehicles Act of 2018.” DCBLC testifies before the D.C. Board of Elections, debating concerns expressed by the Chairman, The Board as a whole, General Counsel and D.C.’s Attorney General, Karl Racine. The “accept”/”reject” vote is delayed to a private, Executive hearing (to be held at a later date).
In early May, MPD revised their policy on shooting at motor vehicles. The department moved from a policy; stating they can only shoot at a moving vehicle if there is deadly force directed at the officer. Now they can legally perceive a motor vehicle as a weapon and reckless operation as act of terror.
May 4, 2018 – Jeffery Price was killed in a fatal traffic encounter with MPD.
May 9, 2018 – On the day of Jeff Price’s vigil. An off duty MPD officer killed D’Quan Young at a gathering. Reportedly the off duty officer shot D’Quan, reloaded, shot D’Quan as he ran away and after he fell to the ground.
May 10, 2018 – MPD conducted a search of Jeffrey Price’s girlfriend’s home. During this search they killed the family dog.
May 11, 2018 – D.C.’s MPD conducted a warrantless search of Jeff Price’s mothers property and the surround yards.
May 19, 2018, on the same block where D’Quan Young was killed, an MPD officer brutally beat Samuel Cooper, punching and contorting his body, while placing him under arrest.
May 21, 2018 at Fort Totten, in physical struggle, Metro Transit Police exposed a woman while placing her under arrest for fare evasion. Metro Transit Police had her face down on the ground with a knee and a taser in her back.
D.C. Bike Life Campaign wasn’t founded as anti- anything. Instead, we are pro-culture. D.C. residents have been legislated into limited, costly options like travelling via WMATA, car-share, traditional cab or car ownership. Meanwhile, 80% of our new residents do not own automobiles. Those of us who cannot or decide not to participate in automotive or public transit face travel options with either high entry costs or heavy sweat output like bike sharing through all 8 wards of D.C. DCBLC represents independence, freedom of choice and homage to culture. By decriminalizing riding vehicles that are currently outlawed and allowing registration of non-traditional vehicles we pay respect to D.C. culture.
To raise funds and awareness DCBLC will be:
-Competing in the Gran Fondo National Championship Cycling races (courtesy of a bike donation by Velocity Co-op):
June 3 – Highlands @ Butler, NJ
July 22 – Asheville, NC
August 4 & 5 – Boone, NC
September 23 – Frederick, MD
-Sponsoring block parties around the city, hosted in solidarity by #BikeLife advocates and supporters.
-Coordinating a #BikeLife festival experience to bring the culture together during our push.
-Meeting regularly to address community needs and reach out to other groups to organize.
We need you to link up with the campaign. In approximately 3-5 weeks D.C. Board of Election will finally be presenting DCBLC with petitions that we can circulate for you to sign. The sooner we get the approx. 25,000 signatures needed, the sooner we secure the opportunity for D.C. voters to switch gears on #BikeLife in D.C.
Eric Butler, Jr
Chairman, D.C. #BikeLife Campaign
For: DCBLC – [Full Name] – [Phone Number]