Metro says there is a problem lately with riders leaving their bicycles outside stations and never returning to get them, and now the transit agency is being forced to remove them.
As first reported by The Washington Examiner, there have been 12 occasions so far this year when maintenance crews have had to go out to stations and remove at least one bike.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told News4 there's no record of how many bikes in all have been removed, adding that most of the things removed from the racks are merely remnants of bicycles that have had their seats, tires or handlebars stolen.
Metro Transit Police officers will go out and tag abandoned bikes with a sticker. If they aren't claimed after 10 days, a crew will go in to remove them. However, if the bikes are still intact, they are moved to Metro's Lost & Found where they will stay for another 90 days before going through the agency's donation program.
The stations that seem to have more issues with abandoned bikes include:
- Friendship Heights
- Brookland/Catholic Univ.
- College Park/Univ. of Md.
- East Falls Church
Removing the bikes/bike parts is just one effort by Metro to cut down on crime within the transit system. Stessel compared it to the "broken window theory," which suggests that busted windows may encourage more crime.
There were 280 reports of stolen bikes in 2010, according to the Washington Examiner. That's down from 207 in 2009.