Pleasant surprise: D.C. doing something about abandoned bikes


When I first landed in College Park as a freshman, one of the first things I noticed was the dozens of amputated bikes still locked up where they were dismembered.

The bicycles had tires smashed, chains, seats stolen and all other manner of ailments. I thought to myself: How the hell did that bike end up in this bad situation?

Well, I have had the grand pleasure of this process play out just a few steps outside my door. And it is much more pleasurable than watching a rat rot near your house (also seen it!).

This bike has languished in Capitol Hill for months.

This bike has languished in Capitol Hill for months.

This particular bike seemed to be well tended. An elderly fellow, he would appear on this parking sign from time to time, then disappear and reappear, days later. Then, catastrophe. One of this summer’s many intense lightning storms ripped through and knocked a tree down on the bike and sign, hence the sign’s gangsta lean. The tree was removed, the damaged bike stayed.

At the beginning, the front wheel was the only problem. It was bent severely, as you can see in the photo. Still, I thought the owner might be able to salvage the operation. Then days ran into weeks, weeks into months. The seat was jacked, the back wheel taken. Gradually everything that once made this bike valuable faded away.

And then we were left with some sort of horrific unicycle, attached to a leaning sign, forever. Or so I thought. The other day, I noticed a new addition to this display of urban decay.

But it looks like DDOT has taken notice.

But it looks like DDOT has taken notice.

Turns out the regulation that clears out ghost bikes, which is a fairly controversial action, is the same one that keeps D.C. from looking like a College Park bike rack.

What about that parking sign though? That thing appears ready to pounce on my Civic at moment’s notice. Can I report that as abandoned?

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One Response to Pleasant surprise: D.C. doing something about abandoned bikes

  1. carsonata says:

    This seems to be a global problem. Piles of mangled bikes choke many of the intersections in Amsterdam, the gosh-darned biking-est city I have ever been in (There are special lanes and traffic signals for bikes, the bikes have the right of way, even over pedestrians). Must be the “personal property” aspect of it all that keeps cities from just getting rid of these sad and sorry eyesores.

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