By Jordan Williams

A College Park resident attending a town hall meeting raised concerns about motorcycle speeding and reckless driving in her neighborhood near Rhode Island Avenue and Branchville Road.

Photo Credit: Jordan Williams

Major James Keleti, the Hyattsville Division 1 police department commander, attended the meeting and confirmed that the police department was aware of the issue and is familiar with the local repair shop the resident had described. “We have been dealing with that motorcycle shop for years … We do try to stop the motorcycles and ATVs,” Keleti said. “When they run from us, we can’t chase them. We have a no-chase policy when it comes to motorcycles and ATVs that are not involved in violent crime, such as a carjacking.”

Jeff Brown is a service advisor at Rising Sun Motors, which is located on Rhode Island Avenue. In an interview with the Here & Now, he said, “[The recklessness] has become so common that I am desensitized to it, but I haven’t seen them as much lately.” 

Brown added that Rising Sun staff used to regularly hear and see groups of motorcyclists and ATVs speeding on Rhode Island Avenue, but said he does not know where they come from or where they go.

Some interviewees indicated that the disturbances are linked to a motorcycle repair shop on 51st Place. The shop does not appear to have a name or an online presence, and a mechanic at the shop said that they did not know anything about the issue. “All the bikes that come here are not running. We don’t know of any disturbance,” he said. According to residents in the neighborhood, the shop tests motorcycles they repair, revving engines and speeding.

There are reports of residents who own motorcycles and ATVs causing disturbances on neighborhood streets, too. 

The city installed speed bumps along 51st Place last year in response to a community petition. The city also put up signs around the area, urging people to keep vehicle noise to a minimum. Residents said that the interventions improved the situation somewhat, though some bikers simply drove around the speed bumps, sometimes on the sidewalks.

Multiple individuals interviewed for this article reported that speeding and recklessness has lessened in recent months, though others claimed that there are  ongoing problems. “It is a daily occurrence,” one local business owner noted. “They speed around doing wheelies and disturbing the peace.”

Bryan Haddad, who lives in the Hollywood neighborhood, has been vocal about the street racing culture and has proposed ways to curb it. He has suggested that police could leverage code enforcement to issue tickets to individuals who illegally modify vehicles to make the engine louder than normal.

The Here & Now reached out to the Prince George’s County Police for a comment and update on the vehicle disturbances, as well as their thoughts on Haddad’s proposition, but they did not reply.