Tracking Abandoned Bikes

Monday, May 07, 2012

Abandoned orange bike

WNYC reporter Alex Goldmark discusses the abandoned bicycles commonly found around NYC, and the Transportation Nation project to map them.

Comments [16]

Bknativist from BKALLTHEWAY

Why doesn't anyone see what the problem here is? It is quite obvious that the bikes are abandoned by hipsters that can't afford to live their dream of being a Park Sloper. When they finally realize it, they run home to Mom, Pop and tumble weeds. They just act like irresponsible brats that don't give a damn about polluting our beautiful neighborhoods.

Jun. 13 2012 11:11 PM
C_Alife from Lower East Side

I leave my old Schwinn Continental on the street every night on the LES. No quick releases. Front wheel protected with a cable. Kryptonite lock. Someone vandalized my seat and punctured my tires once. But so far, nothing too serious.
I don't understand the motivation of people who leave their bikes to rot on the street and to be an eyesore (as well as an inconvenience) to the rest of us. Sheer laziness?

May. 08 2012 06:03 PM
Marc from Upper West Side

Much as abandoned bicycles are a huge eyesore on the vast and beautiful landscape of our beloved Big Apple, abandoned umbrellas, particularly after a heavy rain, are a far greater blight.

May. 07 2012 05:08 PM

Can't wait for city wide bike rentals to get here!

july 2012!

May. 07 2012 03:04 PM
art525 from Park Slope

@Jeff Park Slope it's still your responsibility. There are abandoned bikes all over and it is junk on the streets. Maybe don't leave it in a place where it will get vandalized.

May. 07 2012 02:45 PM
altokid from g.c.

If you get no response to trying to get rid a bike. Get rid of it yourself. I think the city needs to spend its money on more important things. It's no secret to removing a bike, all the thieves use the same methods. Some use portable cutting torches or use a mini grinder, like one of those Dremel or other brand. with a 1" wheel, about 1mm thick. Bolt cutters only work on non-hardened chain.
Locks are for honest people, although to the contrary, I once visited a mid-western campus where no one used bike locks. And I thought what a wonderful place the world could be.

May. 07 2012 12:25 PM
p2b from nYc

Points to consider:
1) If you see a good bike chained to a pole that has fallen...pick it up.
2) If you have a nice bike and the seat of your bike is missing or the wheel is bent or flat...this may be a parts thief disabling your bike in hopes you will leave it over night allowing them to take everything they want from it...try to get it home if you still want it.
3) If you don't want the bike anymore...remove the damn lock, it will be gone overnight. Any real bike lock is not cheap at least keep that.
4) Don't lock an expensive bike up overnight and expect it to be safe. Even cheap ones aren't safe. Junkies will take anything and try to sell it.
5) Yes, despite outward appearances this is still New York City.

May. 07 2012 12:07 PM
Jeff Park Slope

Interesting focus. Instead of focusing on the real problem which is vandalism. Who would lock up a bike if there is no intention to retrieve it (see exception forgetting where it is and confirmation, from the caller that didn't lock his bike that he no longer wanted)? Reduce vandalism (I have no recommendations), fewer abandoned bikes. This reminds me of Koch's solution to abandoned houses in the 80s - to cover the boarded up windows with pictures of real ones.

May. 07 2012 12:07 PM


Are these bikes or parts of bikes turned over to organizations which rebab and repair bikes for those who can't afford to buy new ones?

Where I live in NJ, bikes are just junked, no matter what condition. As if the city couldn't use some revenue from an annual or semi-annual unclaimed bike sale>

I had a beautiful, older but pristine copper colored Raleigh 10-speed. Primo condition. And it was stolen out of my driveway. On a Sunday (tsk, tsk). When I reported the theft, my police dept didn't even want to hear about it. No use reporting it stolen, but I could if I insisted. I still miss that bike.

May. 07 2012 11:58 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Could damaged bikes be brought into bike repair shops to be used for parts rather than being left on the street to be stripped illegally?

May. 07 2012 11:58 AM
Marcelo from Park SLope

I had an absent minded roommate who claimed her bike had gotten stolen. 3 months later she showed up home with the bike. Turned out she had simple forgotten where she had left it.

May. 07 2012 11:57 AM

Cute little program NPR, but with limited resources, is this really a priority even when we limit our discussion of urban problems to quality of life issues? Barking dogs and pathological horn honking would be higher on my list. Abandoned bikes don't do me any psychological harm, personally.

May. 07 2012 11:56 AM
Maldo from Manhattan

I've never abandoned a bike, but I have no idea what I would do with my bike if I did find it vandalized. Especially if I was far from home. What is one supposed to do? You should let your listeners know.

May. 07 2012 11:56 AM
JHC from Manhattan

I am a cyclist who gets very nervous about my bike being stolen. If I'm going to leave the bike locked outside for any amount of time, I remove anything that could be easily stolen -- including the seat and front wheel, both of which have quick-releases. If the current rules are too skewed toward leaving the bikes (as you seem to be implying), what changes would you suggest to make sure my bike won't be removed by Sanitation while I'm inside at a meeting?

May. 07 2012 11:56 AM
Sandra from Hoboken, NJ

In Hoboken, the city gathers abandon bikes and unclaimed stolen bikes and auctions them off the the public once a year. I got two bikes this way, both in great condition at great prices. It really works!

May. 07 2012 11:53 AM
art525 from Park Slope

It's pretty irresponsible for bikers to leave their junk for someone else to deal with. Too bad there wasn't some way to register them and track them and fine them for super littering.

May. 07 2012 11:07 AM

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