Bikes deemed to be hindering social distancing removed in Dublin

Roads and Traffic directive has warranted removal of 173 bikes in city’s southeast

A bicycle with a tag on its back wheel indicating that a Dublin City Council official considers it abandoned: Photograph: Dan Griffin

A bicycle with a tag on its back wheel indicating that a Dublin City Council official considers it abandoned: Photograph: Dan Griffin

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At least 30 bicycles were recently removed from an area in Dublin city over fears they might hinder coronavirus social distancing measures.

Members of Dublin City Council’s South East Area Committee heard the bicycles were taken away at the instruction of the council’s Roads and Traffic Department.

“Thirty bikes removed as per request from Roads and Traffic,” said a report from the council’s south city director of services Mary Taylor. “Bikes identified as causing a hindrance to pedestrians as part of the Covid-19 social distancing exercise.”

The South East Area covers the southeast inner city, Pembroke and Kimmage-Rathmines. A total of 173 bikes have been removed to date, according to Ms Taylor.

The city council has since February 2016 operated an abandoned bicycle procedure aimed at freeing up bicycle parking space in Dublin. Last year the council removed 400 abandoned bicycles from across the city, an increase of 70 per cent on 2018.

Potentially abandoned

Under the programme, tags are placed on bikes identified as being potentially abandoned. If the bike remains in the same location for two weeks, the council cuts its lock off and removes the bike. In 2018 the council recommended that bikes which posed a safety risk could be removed immediately.

The bicycles are kept for a further four weeks in secure storage during which time they can be reclaimed by their owners. The council says in the vast majority of cases there is no attempt by the owner to recover the bike: “Once a bicycle deteriorates past a certain stage it would appear that most owners have little interest in them.”

A 2019 tweet from Dublin City Council explained what happens to the bikes after the four week period has elapsed: “Some thankfully are reunited to their owners and the others are repaired and given to bike shops and charities for people in need of them.”