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Speak Out to Support NYC Ghost Bikes- Aug. 10th!

August 9, 2010

The NYC Department of Sanitation is threatening to consider ghost bikes as “derelict bikes” that may be subject to removal. If you support preserving these memorials for those killed on city streets, speak out now!
Public Hearing – August 10, 2010 9:30-11:30am
125 Worth Street, Third Floor Board Room (room 330)
Comment on the proposed rules here
The NYC Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has published “Proposed Rules Governing the Removal and Disposal of Derelict Bicycles”. These changes would add a new section numbered 1-05.1 of Chapter 1, Title 16 of the Rules of the City of New York.
Although the City has made verbal statements published by the press suggesting that they would not remove ghost bikes, the Proposed Rules remain unchanged and continue to state that after 30 days ghost bikes can be removed.
Continue reading to learn more about the City’s statements.

Of particular concern are these two statements:
Page two, section (2) the Proposed Rules state:
“‘Ghost rider’ shall mean a derelict bicycle that has been placed on public property and apparently intended as a memorial for someone who is deceased, and which may be painted white or have a sign posted on or near it, or flowers or other mementos in the basket.”
Page three states:
“…in the event that a ghost rider is affixed to public property, a notice shall be affixed to the ghost rider advising the owner that such ghost rider must be removed within thirty days from the date of notice. This notice shall also state that the failure to remove such ghost rider within the designated time period will result in the removal and disposal of the ghost rider by the department of sanitation.”
If you are concerned that NYC Ghost Bikes will be removed after 30 days, we urge you to comment on these Proposed Rules and/or testify at the August 10 hearing.
Notice of your intention to testify as well as written comments on this Proposed Rule should be sent to:
Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs, New York City Department of Sanitation
125 Worth Street, Room 710, New York, NY 10013
You can also submit a direct comment to these Rules through or by calling 311 on or before August 10, 2010. You can also send an email to the DSNY Commissioner.
Links and further information are available on our website at
There is also a Facebook event page.
Here are some suggestions of issues to raise in response to the Proposed Rules:
* Ghost bikes (referred to as “ghost riders” in the document) are defined in the rules as inherently derelict. We do not believe that all ghost bikes fall under the criteria that determine derelict bikes, and we strongly oppose their removal.
* Several of the derelict bike criteria are vague and unhelpful for determining whether bikes are abandoned, and should be further explained or removed. The characteristic of “unusable” is too vague, as it does not explain what the bike might be used for and what makes it unable to be used. The ghost bikes are used as functioning memorials. The characteristic of missing parts is unclear. It specifies some parts with exceptions, but does not include a comprehensive list. Given that some ghost bikes are stripped of unnecessary parts, we wish that the rules more specifically describe exactly which parts and how many of them must be missing to categorize a bike as derelict. The criterium of flat or missing tires should be changed to only include missing tires. Though many ghost bikes have flat tires, this does not make them an eyesore or a public hazard. Additionally, a completely functioning bike is equally at risk of being locked up with flat tires, due to vandalism, road debris, an unexpected slow leak, or other common bike commuting hazards.
* If ghost bikes are their own category, given that they are removed after a time period of 30 days rather than five, they should have their own criteria to determine which would be considered derelict.
* The City Administration should create a transparent notification procedure that tracks bikes that are slated for removal, so that owners and interested groups can respond appropriately. We suggest that this could take the form of a public database, website, or email list.The rules as proposed do not include an appeals process if any person wishes to challenge a bike’s designation as derelict.
* The City should create and implement a policy that would allow interested parties to repair a bike tagged with a derelict bike warning or challenge this designation if it is inappropriately assigned. If a bike is tagged for removal, the City should include documentation that specifies which derelict bike criteria it fulfills.
* We especially encourage you to tell your own story about the value you see in ghost bikes and other street memorials, as well as any personal stories of your experiences with these memorials.


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