The Streets Department is Clearing ‘Abandoned’ Bicycles; Make Sure Yours Isn’t One of Them!


Pictured: A safe bicycle.

The Philadelphia Streets Department sent out a notice yesterday saying that on Thursday, Nov. 29th—as in, two days from now!—they will begin the process of clearing abandoned bicycles from city streets “as part of the Nutter Administration’s goal of maintaining a safe, clean streetscape” and clearing areas for safer side-walking and additional cyclist parking.

According to Aaron Ritz, the Streets Department’s bicycle and pedestrian programs planner, the department will rely on complaint calls; texts and tweets to 311; and their own eyes in determining which bikes to clear.

“If it’s been there for a long time, it’s usually rusty, has deflated tires… we can guess when it’s been there at least a month,” Ritz tells PW, noting that bikes with damaged parts and those in general unusable condition—pieces missing, rusted chains—will be swept.

Bikes scheduled for removal will be slapped with an Abandoned Bicycle Removal Notice, which is bright yellow and specifies that the vehicle is set to removed between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6. Ritz adds that the department has already made its way through Center City’s east-and-west streets. So if your bike’s been wrongly tagged, you’ve got until two days from now to move it!

But what if you’re out of town and return to find your beloved wheels have been ripped by The Man? Ritz says you can deal with it similarly to how you’d handle an impounded car. “They can contact [the Streets Department] and we’ll refer them to Neighborhood Bike Works,” Ritz says. “[But] we try to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

A similar sweep was conducted this summer, in late June, and Ritz assures us “we didn’t have any bikes taken off racks that were somebody’s or that somebody wanted.” The city donates all unused bikes to Neighborhood Bike Works, who, in turn, fix them up and donate them.

One Response to “ The Streets Department is Clearing ‘Abandoned’ Bicycles; Make Sure Yours Isn’t One of Them! ”

  1. Ruth Eisen says:

    Try to find a group that repairs bicycles and lends them out for free (or form one of your own). They do that in New Brunswick, Collingswood and Estell Manor Park, NJ. Some of the groups fix up the bikes and give them away. I would be happy to take a working, fixer upper for free!

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