Portland’s Bureau of Transportation (PBoT) has unveiled new thief-proof bike racks to combat the rise of bike burglaries in the city. Despite the funds pumped into Portland’s bike infrastructure, giving it the name of “Bike City USA,” the city has been struggling to handle bike theft over the past few years. There are over 7,000 bike racks throughout the city. In 2014, bike burglars took more than 2,100 bikes worth over $1 million – double the number of thefts reported to police in 2007; only 2% of police reports ended in arrest of the thief. Hoping to find a way out of this, The Bureau is betting on its thief-proof bike racks to make a tangible difference.
The racks were designed by the Bureau’s partners Radius Pipe Bending & Fabricating. The racks come equipped with security features that make them resistant to robbery; the features make it difficult to cut through the racks and remove a locked bike. “We’ve just got our first shipment, but you’ll be seeing more of them on the streets soon,” the Bureau announced on their website. “While we can’t replace all 7,000 of the existing racks with the new design, all new rack installations and any maintenance work will include the updated design.”
The new racks cost users an additional $5. “There were a number of bike thefts where the bike rack itself was cut to remove the lock and bike; we wanted to ensure that we were doing all we could to protect bikes and encourage people to ride without worrying about their bikes’ safety. The added security features are worth the marginal extra cost,” says Hannah Schafer, PBoT’s communications specialist.
Cities around the world have been grappling with the issue of providing equal rights to cyclists; in some cities, cycling activists have taken matters into their own hands, introducing guerrilla bike lanes by painting bike lanes with everything from traffic cones to toilet plungers.