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City set to make a clean sweep of abandoned bikes: The Fixer

The city is finally getting serious about freeing up bicycle locking rings from the scourge of abandoned bikes.

Over the next few weeks, transportation services will embark on a blitz in search of abandoned bikes fastened to locking rings, to liberate them for riders who will put the rings to much better use.

We reported on Thursday about derelict bikes locked to rings around the Ryerson University campus, which denies cyclists who intend to ride their bike home a secure place to lock them up while at school.

The sheer number of bikes locked to rings by people who don’t retrieve them has always fascinated us; the city says it cut loose more than 1,500 from rings in 2015, and we’re pretty sure they missed a lot more.

We’ve never understood why anyone would bother to lock them up if they don’t want them. And it’s hard to believe that thousands of people just got drunk and forgot about them.

The city has always been good about removing them if they’re reported to 311, but for the most part, it’s a complaints-driven process.

So we were delighted to get a news release on Friday that said a full-scale removal of derelict bikes is about to commence, as part of Clean Toronto Together, the city’s annual spring cleanup program.

Residents can assist by calling 311 to report bikes that appear abandoned in the public right-of-way,” said the news release. “Callers are asked to identify the bike with as much information as possible, including the colour of bike frame, type of bike and location.”

Typically, an abandoned bike has “missing or damaged parts, flat or missing tires, and is unusable. If a bike has been locked at the same location for more than a month, it is likely abandoned and should be removed.”

Bikes that are obviously derelict will be removed immediately, while others that look like they might still be wanted will be tagged with a notice saying it must be moved within 14 days, or the city will remove it.

The worst will be scrapped, while others that look to be salvageable will be offered to not-for-profit cycling organizations to be fixed up so that someone might give the bike a good home.

One thing is for sure: A year from now, there’ll be lots more locking rings that need to be liberated from abandoned bikes.

What’s broken in your neighbourhood? Wherever you are in Greater Toronto, we want to know. To contact us, go to thestar.com/yourtoronto/the_fixer or call us at 416-869-4823 email jlakey@thestar.ca . To read our blog, go to thestar.com/news/the_fixer . Report problems and follow us on Twitter @TOStarFixer.