Roosevelt Island Cyclists Given a Week to Clear Racks

RIgrab.jpgPhoto: Roosevelt Island 360

Following up on last week’s news from Roosevelt Island, where cyclists were informed that they would no longer be allowed to store bikes on public racks overnight, Roosevelt Island 360 reports that the warning signs are out.

According to an e-mail from Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation President Steve Shane, however, enforcement will not begin until next week. At that point, any bike found on a rack between 2 and 5 a.m. will be confiscated, says the RIOC, and owners will have 48 hours to claim them before they are donated to a thrift store.

Shane told Streetsblog that the RIOC only wants to stop the proliferation of abandoned bikes on the racks, and that alternative suggestions were welcome (Streetsbloggers offered several). But for now at least it looks like it’s full steam ahead with the original mass confiscation plan.

Follow the jump for a close-up of the RIOC flier. RI 360 has asked for more prominent signage.


  • This is a lesson on backwards urban planning. They’re not heeding our collective good suggestions, and they’ve put up what appear to be two tiny signs that don’t draw much attention to themselves. This whole story really annoys me.

  • Andy B from Jersey

    Most open comment periods = we are doing this to look good politically but we never ever intended to actual listen to your ideas.

  • sarah

    Removing orphaned bikes != confiscating any bikes left out at night.

    cribbing from Chicago’s official bike laws regarding abandoned bikes:

    (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon any bicycle on any public way within the city. A bicycle shall be deemed abandoned if it: (1) is in such a state of disrepair as to be incapable of being operated in its present condition, or (2) has not been moved or used in more than seven days and bears physical indicia of having been deserted. (b) Any bicycle deemed abandoned pursuant to subsection (a) of this section may have a notice affixed to it which informs the bicycle’s owner that the bicycle appears to be abandoned. The commissioner of transportation or his designee is authorized to affix such notices upon bicycles. This notice shall indicate: (1) a telephone number for the owner to call to inform the department of transportation that the bicycle is not abandoned; and (2) the date after which the bicycle may be removed if it is not claimed by its owner. A bicycle shall not be deemed to be abandoned if the owner of the bicycle, within seven days of the affixing of a notice of abandonment, notifies the department of transportation that the bicycle is not abandoned. (c) If a bicycle is not relocated or claimed by its owner within seven days of the affixing of a notice of abandonment, that bicycle may be removed and disposed of by the commissioner of transportation or his designee.

    I’ve seen such notices affixed to bikes and that’s the way to go. This way you target abandoned bikes that are an eye sore and clutter up racks for people who want to use them regularly. I’ve seen cars parked for much longer than a week and no one seems to give a crap. Why is RI harshing on cyclists? Someone needs a smarter transpo policy. In the middle of the night is when racks are going to get the most use from commuters and people who bike regularly!

  • Lucy

    Seems like campuses and cities manage to deal with the problem of abandoned bikes without forbidding overnighting at public racks.

    The standard protocol, from a quick google-around, is to affix a notice to a bike, wait a few days, then confiscate and hold for a week or more before disposal.

    RI could offer bike registration, which would allow them to trace ownership in many cases and then they could send a notice to the owner as well as affix a notice. That would also allow a cyclist to notify the authorities when they plan to be out of town so that their bike is not considered abandoned while they are on vacation.

    A modest fee for bike registration would perhaps allow RI to fund some serious bike facilities.

  • al oof

    wow. i park my bike in the same place pretty much all the time, because it’s the only legal place for me to park it that is within a reasonable distance of my home. while i suppose i could drag it inside my house, it doesn’t seem fair that people can park their cars as long as they want but i have to bring my bike inside.

  • Roosevelt Island could be a model car-free residential environment in New York, but instead planners have created a transit dystopia that is impossible to access by foot or by bicycle directly from Manhattan and where residents and visitors must bring their bikes indoors at night or risk having them confiscated before dawn by agents of an Orwellian “public safety department.”

  • michelle

    Does anyone know how we can go about overturning this new rule?? I love to bicycle on the weekends, however, a bicycle in the middle of my 1 bedroom apt is not going to work. My apt building has bicycle storage, but $200 a year is too much.
    If anyone knows of a way to change this crazy rule please post a cooment.
    Thank you!!

  • Ian Turner


    My recommendation would be a two-step process:
    1. Tag your bike clearly with your name and contact information.
    2. When your bike is confiscated, just go pick it up from the security office on your way off the island.

    Step (2) could also be replaced with the following:
    2a. Instead of locking your bike to a rack, leave it with the security office, presuming they’ll take it.

    Effectively, the RIOC is providing free 2-day bicycle parking. Additionally, if removing bikes so frequently turns out to be costly, it may prompt the organization’s managers to reconsider the existing policy.

  • My apt building has bicycle storage, but $200 a year is too much.

    Why is that too much? It comes out to $16 a month for secure, sheltered storage. What would be a doable amount? What would be a reasonable amount?

  • Randy Kato

    I understand your dilemma, but can’t say I have any sympathy. The racks are not for long-term storage, they should be kept available for the people actively using them. Your use of them, as well as those abandoning bikes there, is the reason they’ve implemented this policy. I keep two bikes in my studio, one is a folding bike which lives in the closet and takes almost no space. The other is a full size bike that I have hanging from the ceiling with bike hooks. It’s completely out of the way since it’s in a corner, above a work table (out of head-bumping way). Maybe that could be a solution for you.


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