Some Left In Racks for Years

Public Safety Plans to Clear Out Abandoned Bikes

Updated 18 weeks ago David Stone
What appears to be a long abandoned "ghost bike" on the West Promenade.
What appears to be a long abandoned "ghost bike" on the West Promenade.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

"These bikes just celebrated their first anniversary," reader Eduardo Jany wrote, contributing a photo of two bikes rusting away south of Firemen's Field. There are others around Roosevelt Island, and RIOC Public Safety Department chief Jack McManus promises to do something about them. But it's a little complicated.

"I have researched city ordinances, local laws, and the Administrative Code several times over the last few years without finding anything on abandoned bicycles," McManus tells The Daily.

The bikes belong to someone, or at least they once did, complicating any procedure for disposing of them as it would any private property, even left in public space. And there doesn't seem to be anything specifically on the books to deal with them.

Collapsed on their sides, two abandoned bikes celebrate a first anniversary of eating up rack space near Firemen's Field.
Collapsed on their sides, two abandoned bikes celebrate a first anniversary of eating up rack space near Firemen's Field.
Photo courtesy of Eduardo Jany

Another issue that must be considered is that one bike spotted by The Daily may be a "ghost bikes," many of which have been painted white and placed in various locations to memorialize cyclists killed in accidents.

How do you handle a possible, but unidentified ghost bike that's been taking precious space in a rack for so long its coat of white has mostly worn off, its seat also long gone? An unofficial, unidentified memorial can't claim timeless space in bike racks that are in short supply.

"I have taken bikes off the racks before but haven't done a canvass for abandoned bikes in a while," McManus says.

He now plans a canvas for next week.

"I accompany the officers on these canvasses and make the decisions on which ones to remove in the event we get any complaints, which I'll then be able to answer myself."

That's a marked contrast with the Keith Guerra era when, coordinating with Manhattan Park to clear out racks on their property on short notice, a family on a month long visit home to Germany returned to find three valuable bikes gone. By the time they tracked them down, the bikes had already been discarded by PSD, probably for auction. No one accepted responsibility for the error, leaving the family, which soon left Roosevelt Island for good, seething.

It's a new day with PSD since McManus's arrival.

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"Thanks for bringing it to our attention," he says, and that goes double for our conscientious reader, Eduardo Jany.

 

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