Washington, D.C., police are cracking down on unregistered motorcycles and motor-driven cycles following The Daily Signal’s reporting on the uptick of unlicensed motorized bikes across the city. 

D.C. Police Chief Pamela Smith “has heard the concerns from the community about traffic safety and is working to strengthen [Metropolitan Police Department’s] traffic enforcement,” a MPD spokesperson told The Daily Signal. 

In early spring, The Daily Signal became aware of an influx of drivers of two-wheeled motorized vehicles across D.C., the majority of which had no license plate. After speaking with about a dozen drivers, it became apparent that the majority of the drivers were illegal aliens using the motorized bikes for food delivery. Despite failing to register the motorized bikes, as D.C. law requires, the drivers told The Daily Signal that police were not stopping them. 

But, since the first week of June, two month’s after The Daily Signal’s original reporting, the Metropolitan Police Department has begun enforcing laws related to motor-driven cycles.

“On Wednesday, June 5, MPD launched Operation Ride Right to focus on increasing compliance with DC regulations governing motor-driven cycles, often called mopeds or scooters, to ensure safety,” a police department spokesperson told The Daily Signal. 

As of Friday, less than two weeks after the launch of Operation Ride Right, D.C. police have impounded 167 motor-driven cycles, made 61 arrests for no permit, and issued 172 infraction notices. 

D.C. law requires moped drivers to have a driver’s license, insurance, and have registered the vehicle. 

A District Department of Motor Vehicles spokesperson told The Daily Signal that 126 motor-driven cycles have been registered in the city since the start of 2024, putting the city on track to outpace last year’s 143 registrations. 

But D.C. police are not the only ones aiming to crack down on the mopeds weaving in and out of traffic in the nation’s capital. About a month after The Daily Signal reported on the influx of unregistered motorized bikes, D.C. local government introduced a bill aimed at tamping down on this illicit activity. 

The Moped Registration Accountability Amendment Act of 2024, introduced on April 30 by Council Members Brianne K. Nadeau and Charles Allen, amends the Automobile Consumer Protection Act of 1984 in several ways. 

If enacted, the bill would require motorcycle and motor-driven cycle (mopeds) dealers to provide potential customers with a list of D.C. DMV requirements to legally drive said vehicles in the District.

The amendment does not require customers to register their mopeds when making the purchase.

Under the amendment, motorcycle and motor-driven cycle renters are required to register their fleet of vehicles. It also makes it illegal to affix tags advertising false information about the rental motorized cycle.

As The Daily Signal previously reported, many motorized bike drivers, and even dealers, affix false plates reading “49cc”  to the backs of their vehicles to avoid the detection of police and pass off their bikes as mopeds.

Migrants in D.C., many of whom entered the U.S. illegally, are not buying or renting their bikes through legitimate businesses, as the Washington Post reports. Instead, many illegal aliens look to the black-market or finance their motorbikes through other immigrants. The bill has not yet been enacted and still needs to be reviewed by the mayor and Congress.