DC Police Urge Residents Not to Call 911 on Bike-Share Users

Residents take to reporting 'suspicious activity' to police on those using the new services. 

DC: CAPITAL BIKESHARE
RIGELHAUPT SAMUEL/SIPA—Samuel Rigelhaupt/Sipa USA

Dockless bike-share programs operating in Washington, D.C. since September have reportedly been subject to complaints of bikes being abandoned or left in ill-suited locations.

But residents of the upscale Georgetown neighborhood have lately taken their dislike to another level, calling 911 to report suspicious activity when they spot anyone riding one of the bikes.

That's the account of journalist Martin Austermuhle, who works for an NPR affiliate in the U.S. capital. On Tuesday, he tweeted what he said were comments by a Georgetown resident on a neighborhood listserv advising others to call the cops on people using the bikes.

“When I come home from work, the bikes are all over the sidewalk and in the street,” the comment states. “An elderly neighbor hit her head on a bike as she fell suffering a massive bruise.”

The resident wrote of advising neighbors to “call 911 immediately when you see someone using the bikes, and to snap photos and videos of all individuals using the orange, green, yellow, and now red bikes.”

“Provide a physical description of the rider, color of the bike, direction of travel, and state the assailant suspect is ‘acting suspicious,’” the resident counseled in how to cast the legal activity.

 

The post drew a response from the Metropolitan Police Department, which said it recognized frustration over the bike-sharing programs, but urged residents "to refrain from dialing 911 to report suspicious activity for merely utilizing bikeshare services."

The MPD is working with the bike-share companies to work on solutions to the issues raised by the bike-share programs, it added.