With temperatures in the 20s, you might have given up bicycling for the winter. But don't just lock your bicycle to a parking sign or rack in Union Square and expect to see it there come spring or even the next warm day.
Somerville doesn't have a policy on the books for removing bicycles, said city spokeswoman Jackie Rossetti. But if someone calls 311 to report one that's been supposedly abandoned or illegally parked, the will monitor the bike for two weeks, she said, before taking it away to its repair garage. If no one claims it after about six months, the department turns it over to the , which would store it indefinitely.
Bicycle committee suggests tagging reported bikes
During the December meeting of the Somerville Bicycle Committee, member Ron Newman said the DPW should consider tagging supposedly abandoned bicycles so their owners would know to move them. And if city workers end up removing the bike, he said, they should leave a tag so that the owner knows where to find it.
Such policies, committee members said at a previous meeting, might have helped a young woman whose adult tricycle was removed from a sign post in front of her apartment building last year. After leaving it locked up on Broadway for a couple of rainy days, she told members, she discovered it gone. Since she believed it had been stolen, she called the police, but within a few days learned the DPW had put it in storage, though she was given no reason why it had been removed.
In contrast, it took two people a few years and a serendipitous trip to an auction to learn their bicycles hadn't been lost or stolen after all.
In 2009, the city came up with a profitable way that got rid of 150 of the 300 abandoned bicycles it had stored for two years in the now closed Powder House Community School. It auctioned them off, with starting bids of $5 for each one, and raised about $7,000 for community projects.