Dump My Ride: In East Village, Abandoned Bikes Abound

bikeDaniel Maurer An abandoned bike in the East Village.

The East Village and Lower East Side aren’t just a hotbed of bicycle accidents: they’re also where most of the city’s abandoned bikes are, if a new map is any indicator.

A project launched by WNYC’s Transportation Nation on Tuesday asks users to submit geo-located photos of unclaimed bicycles. The site aims to come up with a citywide tally of clunkers that have been chained to sign posts for months (or even years) at a time.

So far, 250 photos have been sent in across the five boroughs: the Lower East Side comes in first with 17 jalopies spotted, and the East Village follows close behind with 16.

Scott Francisco heads a non-profit called Pilot Projects, which has launched a project called Bike Rescue. “Anecdotally, there seems to be a higher density in the Lower East Side and the East Village,” he said. “I’ve been photographing these bikes for a year. My experience is that there is a higher concentration in these neighborhoods.”

Mr. Francisco attributes the increase to a convergence of issues. “There’s a higher number of bike riders and they’re living in smaller apartments so there’s less room for storage,” he said. The bikes he sees in the East Village tend to be less expensive, meaning that if  parts are stolen from them, their owners might not find them worth salvaging.

Bike Rescue hopes to help rid the area of the forgotten tangles of metal. Mr. Francisco is in talks with the Lower East Side’s neighborhood BID to launch an unwanted-bike removal program. If it’s successful, he hopes the initiative will spread to the East Village.

This post has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: May 3, 2012

An earlier version of this post misspelled the name of Scott Francisco. It also imprecisely identified the non-profit he directs (which is called Pilot Projects) as Bike Rescue, which is a program that Pilot Projects launched.