Baltimore Bike Share is returning with a new design for its bikes to fend off the best of thieves.
The city’s bike share program announced a suspension of operations earlier this month following an overwhelming number of thefts. The program was supposed to be in expansion mode by this of 2017 following last fall’s exciting rollout, but the initial fleet dwindled due in part to crafty thieves yanking them out of their locks by the handlebars, damaging many of the docks in the process.
Now The Baltimore Sun’s Colin Campbell reports Canadian manufacturer Bewegen Technologies is redesigning a new lock for the bikes that will automatically clamp down when a thief tries to yank them out. Its name? The “Baltimore lock.”
“It won’t pull out at all. It’ll lock into the station,” Chris King, marketing adviser for Bewegen, told The Sun.
According to a Sept. 13 release from Baltimore Bike Share, the program is also adding “always-on” GPS and other security enhancements. The bike sharing service was initially expected to resume operations on Oct. 15, though King hinted it could take longer.
“We’ll take as long as it’s going to take to make it right,” he told Campbell.
To add insult to injury, right as Baltimore Bike Share was floudnering, Washington D.C. was adding an impressive trust-based component to its Capital Bikeshare system: dockless bikes. As The Hoya student newspaper at Georgetown reports, bright-colored bikes have started popping up all over the District, with no docks at which users can leave them them. Rather, riders can simply pick them up wherever they’re left in the city. (They are admittedly tracked by GPS so that Capital Bikeshare can keep tabs on them.)
D.C. and Baltimore are very different places, of course. It’s a tale of two cities. If nothing else, Baltimore has shown it has more skilled bandits than its southerly neighbor.