Haunting! Third Avenue is Bay Ridge’s bicycle graveyard

Haunting! Third Avenue is Bay Ridge’s bicycle graveyard
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Call it the cycle of life.

A swath of Third Avenue in Bay Ridge has become a bicycle graveyard. Patches of the thoroughfare are crammed with cycles chained to lamp posts, trees, and parking meters. And opportunists have taken the opportunity to swipe parts, leaving dozens of stripped bikes abandoned on Bay Ridge streets, said one cyclist who parked his ride on the thoroughfare only to discover a bare frame hours later.

“There’s definitely more bikes around here so I’m not surprised that I’m seeing more stripped for parts,” said Bay Ridgite Jason Teich, who has lived in the area for a decade and experienced the thievery first hand. “I chained my bike here, and when I came back a few hours later both the wheels, handlebars, and seat was gone. It was basically just the frame left — it was so sad.”

In the last five years, the 25-block stretch between Ovington Avenue up to 100th Street has logged more than 120 complaints to 311 about abandoned rides on or near Third Avenue. And kvetching locals have already made more than a dozen calls to the city about derelict bikes littering the main street from January to April of this year, according to city data.

The spike in bikes has prompted Community Board 10’s district manager to nudge the Department of Sanitation to clip chains in the nabe when workers spot stripped down cycles. It’s a haunting issue that’s been exacerbated by the avenue’s booming restaurant scene.

“There seems to be more bikes where there’s more restaurants and commuter ridership,” said Josephine Beckmann, the district manager of CB10. “Our office has received complaints on the issue.”

The Department of Sanitation deems a bike derelict when it appears to be crushed, severely rusted, and missing parts other than the seat and front wheel.

City workers first slap the scrap with a notice and if the bike remains after seven days it’s hauled off, according to the agency’s website.

Now some locals worry that the thoroughfare will follow in the footsteps of neighboring spectacles, such as bucolic Staten Island’s Arthur Kill ship graveyard — a wasteland of more than 300 junked boats.

“Maybe this is our Arthur Kill,” said Bay Ridgite Rodney Shafer, who lives off of Third Avenue on 73rd Street. “If this keeps up, yeah, we’re gonna be swimming in bikes.”

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspiv[email protected]nglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

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