Alex Goldmark over at Transportation Nation embarked on the lofty goal of mapping out all of New York City’s abandoned bikes with the hopes that the Department of Sanitation NY would respond and remove some of these eyesores. Well it turns out they probably won’t.
First, some are abandoned, not derelict.
To be considered an official derelict bike, the abandoned must meet three of the five criteria:
- The appearance is crushed or not usable;
- Have parts missing from bicycle other than seat and front wheel;
- Have flat tires or missing both tires;
- Handlebars and pedals are damaged, or the fork, frame or rims are bent;
- 75 percent of bicycle is rusted.
It also must be attached to public property and not private fencing.
In 2010, the DSNY was given the power to remove derelict bikes and cars. To get them removed, however, one must go through a lengthy process of calling 311 and answering a series of questions about the object. Before WNYC began collecting information from listeners, the city had removed only 60 of the 429 official complaints.
Goldmark was able to submit only the cross streets of which a user noted an abandoned bike, not the actual image, though they received hundreds. And because the DSNY workers were unable to look at a picture of the map, things got a bit confusing. Sometimes the cross street would have multiple bikes locked or, as he notes, two instances of the same street (Riverside Drive).
He reported that the “bulk submission of 500 bikes had nowhere to go. Neither agency had the staff to take a spreadsheet and enter it into the correct databases for action. 311 agreed to take two spreadsheets – after Transportation Nation agreed to filter out the non-derelict looking bikes.”
Even after that, the remaining 350 bikes need to be called in.
(Photo: WNYC Bikes/Flickr)