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NYPD = Bike Thieves???

Old 05-31-07, 12:31 PM
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superslomo
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NYPD = Bike Thieves???

I was out to dinner last night in the Lower East Side in Manhattan, and all of a sudden a dozen or so police officers appeared and started cutting bikes from parking meters with an angle grinder. The cop I talked to said they were doing it where bikes had been sitting for more than 30 days...

They went so far as to cut the frame tubes on at least one vintage frame I saw when they couldn't get it off by just cutting the lock.

The woman whose frame had been made into multiple pieces was outside of the restaurant when we finished, she had parked it there a half-hour earlier. Has anyone heard of this before???

I was pretty shocked, and someone started taking pictures. By the time a few minutes had passed, a whole slew of folks came running out from bars and restaurants to grab their bikes before they got "cleared away." Pretty unreal, hope everyone remembers to keep an eye out so it doesn't happen to them.
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Old 05-31-07, 12:55 PM
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This has been covered quite a bit by Transportation Alternatives in their e-bulletin. See here for results from their website.

Williamsburg police have been particularly bad about this. I thought East Village cops were supposed to be the good guys.
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Old 05-31-07, 12:58 PM
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Yep, that happens. Police aren't very good at discriminating bikes from garbage, and ever since the RNC there's been a kind of cold war on between the NYPD and cyclists.
OTOH, the abandoned bikes can collect and crap up the place. There was a totally trashed bike abandoned chained to one of those no-crossing fences on my walk to work for about 9 months before someone -- police? sanitation? thief? shop owner? -- removed it.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:18 PM
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While I wish the cops were a bit more careful I can't entirely blame them. Abandoned bikes have become a problem downtown. While I'm not in the habit of leaving my bike on a public street for more than a few minutes I would occasionally like to park my bike downstairs from my South Village apartment. Unfortunately there must be at least 30 bikes, and a motor scooter or two, parked on my block, chained to tree guards, various iron fences, and of course the two public bike racks. Most of these bikes have bent frames, missing wheels, and extensive rust indicating they're there for the long haul. If we don't clear away this clutter there's no room for those of us with functional bikes who actually need to use the racks.

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Old 05-31-07, 01:19 PM
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Yet another reason I don't lock up my bike anywhere (bring the folder). Absolutely crazy.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:21 PM
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Stacy - good point. But if sanitation can put a sticker on a car that says you should have moved why can't the police come through, tag them, whatever still has the tags on after a few weeks go? It's not that hard to do - probably requires less manpower too.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:31 PM
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Now I see a good use for one of those magnesium framed bikes. I would love to see an officer start cutting one of those with an angle grinder.
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Old 05-31-07, 01:32 PM
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Tagging them with a date is probably the best solution. It's also kinda crazy that it would be dealt with differently from one precinct to another. I'm in the Sixth Precinct where they don't seem to do anything about bikes.
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Old 05-31-07, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Stacy
Most of these bikes have bent frames, missing wheels, and extensive rust indicating they're there for the long haul. If we don't clear away this clutter there's no room for those of us with functional bikes who actually need to use the racks.
Maybe you should TALK to the police about removing the junked bikes, before they spontaneously show up and remove every bike in sight.
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Old 05-31-07, 03:58 PM
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If it's a bike that is periodically chained to poles, fences, racks, etc., an idea might be to have a laminated dayglo card printed on both sides secured around the frame that says something like this:

-- N.Y.P.D. --
Do not remove bicycle. Owner nearby.
Cellular: 212-999-9999


That might prevent some problems, but who knows...
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Old 05-31-07, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by superslomo
The woman whose frame had been made into multiple pieces was outside of the restaurant when we finished, she had parked it there a half-hour earlier. Has anyone heard of this before???

I was pretty shocked, and someone started taking pictures.

Wowee! Where are these pictures? Who is this woman?

And Stacy: Where is the "South Village"? Is that somewhat north of TriBeCa Heights?
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Old 05-31-07, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
And Stacy: Where is the "South Village"? Is that somewhat north of TriBeCa Heights?
South of Washington Square, West of Noho, East of the West Village, but not quite Soho.
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Old 05-31-07, 05:31 PM
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Ah. So you live under the Fiorello LaGuardia statue?
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Old 05-31-07, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
Ah. So you live under the Fiorello LaGuardia statue?
Right around the corner - somewhere between the proposed Bleecker Street bikelane and the proposed Prince Street bikelane
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Old 05-31-07, 08:02 PM
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I believe that you're referring to what Dante called Limbo. You'll share those bike lanes with the unbaptized and the poets of antiquity.
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Old 05-31-07, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Bklyn
I believe that you're referring to what Dante called Limbo. You'll share those bike lanes with the unbaptized and the poets of antiquity.
Brings a whole new meaning to Share The Road.
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Old 05-31-07, 09:08 PM
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Winner!

Originally Posted by Bklyn
I believe that you're referring to what Dante called Limbo. You'll share those bike lanes with the unbaptized and the poets of antiquity.
Now that was a witty post!
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Old 06-01-07, 06:01 AM
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Now that was a nice thing to say! Especially coming from "Blonde on Blonde"-era Bob!

But back to the problem at hand: the TA links to this are a bit wonky. We don't see any pictures of NY Finest with Angle Grinders. There's got to be some photographic evidence somewhere, no?
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Old 06-01-07, 06:10 AM
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I'm afraid the guy with the camera was across the street from me, and I didn't have mine with me when it played out. I didn't know him, so I don't have pictures of the goings on.
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Old 06-01-07, 06:43 AM
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I wonder if you can get reimbursed for a damaged/destroyed frame if your bike had only been there for 30 mins., not 30 days. It's illegal to lock up to anything but a bike rack which makes parking a bike frustrating. You want to obey the law to keep stuff like this from happening to you, but there's not a lot of bike racks available for us to lock up. Maybe we should all call the city to have them install free bike racks in places we frequent the most.
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Old 06-01-07, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Stacy
Right around the corner - somewhere between the proposed Bleecker Street bikelane and the proposed Prince Street bikelane
The avaricious realtors have given every four block area a name. Everything west of Broadway used to be called the Village when I lived there. TriBeCa was just "way downtown." People tell me the East Village was the Lower East Side along with the less gentrified sections below Houston although I don't remember those days.
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Old 06-01-07, 10:13 AM
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Exactly. If you remember when it was all the East Village, you weren't there, man.
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Old 06-01-07, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by zowie
The avaricious realtors have given every four block area a name. Everything west of Broadway used to be called the Village when I lived there. TriBeCa was just "way downtown." People tell me the East Village was the Lower East Side along with the less gentrified sections below Houston although I don't remember those days.
Nowadays the South Village is the non-historic part of the Village.. but locals are working on that. They've proposed a South Village Historic District
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Old 06-03-07, 06:48 AM
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"cold war on between the NYPD and cyclists."
That would not say much about the police, since most cyclists are not politically involved and just use the bike for transportation. Personally I think the police were just ordered to clear the street of bikes.

Special hint, you can tell an abandoned bike because:
1) The Chain is rusted solid, does not flex
2) wheels are bent and damaged.
3) It is missing important parts

As far as I am concerned people who own property should be able to post a note giving 48 hr notice that a bike will be cut. I do not see this as a police responsibility.
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Old 06-03-07, 11:32 AM
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Here in DC, DDOT places a laminated card onto bikes that have been noted as abandoned. It has a date on the card, and gives the owner 30 days from said date to remove the bike. After that, DDOT can remove the bike with whatever method works, up to and including destroying the frame.

But the cards are very easy to spot and clearly worded - and effective, from what I've seen. Perhaps NYPD could be so clear.

Oh, wait a minute - it's the NYPD. Nevermind.
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