Bike Share Speak: Backwards Seat = Broken

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A backwards Citi Bike seat

New York's bike share program is barely a month old, and users are already developing ways to communicate faulty equipment to each other -- and to the city.

Call it an emergent social norm in the New York bike share community. Nobody likes to check out a bike only to find a flat tire or wonky gears. So people have taken to turning the bike seats backwards as an easily identifiable warning to fellow riders something is amiss.

And it has the city's stamp of approval.

"It is something that's done in other cities," said NYC Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. "It's part of the lore that's getting passed along. We think it's helpful when New Yorkers help us manage the system better...and if New Yorkers can help pinpoint the problem, so much the better."