Boston’s 311 service has ticketed and rounded up 1,037 bikes left chained to poles, posts and other solid objects since 2011, according to city data.
“Bikes are tagged as abandoned and generally left in place for a minimum of three days,” Tracey Ganiatsos, Public Information Manager at the Boston Transportation Department, told Metro. “If a bike isn't removed, city staff will cut off the lock, dispose of it, and transport the bike to the Boston Transportation Department Tow Lot at 200 Frontage Road.”
The bikes are stored in the same lot as the cars that the city tow, located adjacent to I-93 next to Widett Circle, and the South Boston/South End/Roxbury borders.
“If a person wants to claim the bike, they will need to provide a description of it and leave a copy of their identification,” Ganiatsos said. “After 30 days, the bike will be donated to the Roll It Forward program if it remains unclaimed.”
Roll It Forward started in 2010, and has found homes for more than 3,800 bikes that were either donated or pulled off of the street as of January this year. They are aiming to distribute 1,000 more by the end of 2015.
"We put them in recycling if they are too far gone, but the viable whole bikes or the salavagable pieces are distributed," "In 2014, of the 1,681 bikes we distributed, about 5.6 percent were abandonded. That’s about average for us each year."
According to data put out by Boston’s 311 Service, most abandoned bikes were lassoed and corralled in the Downtown and Financial District areas, with 183 locks cut. Back Bay had the next highest number with 151 removed. West Roxbury saw the least amount of abandoned bikes with two in total according to the data.
"We have partners who will host youth xmas parties for kids in Rox and Mattapan, raffle off the bikes," Jenny Norcott, Community Cycling Program Manager said. "A lot of groups get so excited about it being able to raffle off bikes to people."
Out of the more residential neighborhoods, the Fenway/Kenmore/Audubon Circle/Longwood areas saw 82 abandoned bikes removed in total. Beacon Hill has had 97 removed, and the Allston/Brighton areas had 89 tagged and taken down to Widett Circle.
"We focus on distribution through community organizations," Stefanie Seskinof the Boston Public Health Commission said. "Prior to this, the bikes were recycled, as far as we know. We haul in a fleet of unloved bikes and find them homes. We have 12 designated areas to donate in Boston."
According to a Boston Police spokeswoman, police don’t often encounter mixups of stolen versus reclaimed bikes.
“The owner of a bike who comes out who finds their bike missing, odds are they’re going to call the police. If someone calls to file the report, we report it as stolen,” Officer Rachel McGuire said. “We assume that if you were riding a bike regularly, you’d see the tag the city put on it and either move it or call the city. We don’t get a lot stolen bike reports that are actually are reclaimed. It tends to be one or the other.”