Are Local Bike Racks Simply Becoming A Dumping Ground?


bike racks
When we think about an increased number of local bike racks, we appreciate the idea of more parking for neighbors who choose alternatives to driving or mass transit. Neighbor Patrick, though, has us considering another side of them.

“These new bike stations placed all around the city have now become the place to attach every broken down piece of bicycle effluvia in the known universe,” he writes. “Who is responsible for removing the broken pieces? Is anyone responsible to see that they are being used appropriately?”

Since we don’t have any CitiBike stations in our area, we’re more concerned with standard local bike racks. But certainly the number of bikes left to fall apart around town isn’t a result of an increased number of official racks, right? There have always been plenty of street signs to accommodate little bike graveyards.

bike racks
Former DPC editor Mary Bakija has taken a look at the “derelict bike” epidemic on our sister site, Park Slope Stoop, noting while several bikes that fit the criteria (clearly unusable, missing a significant number of parts, largely rusted, etc.) were evident around that neighborhood, only one was tagged with a removal notice–and we’ve never seen any notices around here, though we’d be interested to hear if you have.

Unfortunately, as with many unsightly problems around the city, derelict bikes can only be handled with a call or online form submitted through 311. Fliers placed on derelict bikes will give owners a week’s notice to remove them, or the DSNY will do it themselves.

Have you noticed a problem with a large number of derelict bikes locally, either on new racks or other city property? What about your own private property? And why do people bother locking up bikes if they’re never going to retrieve them?

Comment policy


  1. I think the issue is being framed incorrectly–people are not attaching broken bikes to racks–that makes no sense–people attach a full bike and then someone steals parts. This means the issue isn’t ‘derelict bikes,’ it is petty theft.

  2. I would definitely agree with the idea that nobody is attaching broken bikes to racks. But even if someone is not inclined to, say, replace a bike’s stolen wheels and continue riding it, do they not have a responsibility to remove it from the rack?

  3. In answer to Nora’s question, absolutely they have a responsibility to remove their bike. People who leave their bike parts have the same mentality as litterers — if I can’t use it anymore, just make it someone else’s problem. Who cares!!? I’m guaranteed my place in heaven no matter how I treat my community or planet…Give me mine and forget everything else.

  4. Of course they have a responsibility–but lamenting this issue is like criticizing car owners who don’t clean up the glass after their window gets shattered–the real issue is curtailing bike theft, not reducing ignored bikes.

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