Don’t Leave Your Bike Locked Up Along the Marathon Route in Brookline

Police will be tagging and bagging abandoned rides.

Bike photo via Brookline Police

Bike photo via Brookline Police

If you lock your bike up along the Boston Marathon race route from April 17-21, only to find that it’s no longer where you left it, don’t fret—it likely wasn’t stolen. Instead, it’s probably in the hands of the Brookline Police.

For the safety of Boston Marathon spectators, come Marathon Monday, any bikes left unattended along the stretch of roadway where runners pass through, heading to Boylston Street, will be clipped from poles, racks, and other spots to allow more standing room. “It’s something we do every year,” said Brookline Police Lieutenant Philip Harrington. “Because so many pedestrians will be there, we look for the bikes—more so the ones locked up to the poles—so that people aren’t damaging them and they’re not in the way. It’s for the safety of pedestrians, and the safety of the bikes.”

The department sent out a very clear tweet this week, accompanied by a photo of a bike locked up to a post designated for cyclists, saying “No, no, no!,” and detailing the “strict enforcement preventing locked [and] abandoned bikes on [the] Marathon course.”

Harrington said the department has a very active bike enforcement program already, where officers receive complaints from residents about bikes with saggy, flat tires that look as though they were left to decay, or have been there for more than 72 hours, and tag them for removal. “People can take pictures of bikes and [submit them to Brookonline]. If it gets forwarded to us, officers put a green tag on it, go back 72 hours later, and if its green they do an incident report and remove it from the location. Then they keep the bike until an owner comes in to claim it,” said Harrington.

Other bikes that aren’t in tip-top shape often get red tags, instead of green, and are then scooped up by the town’s Department of Public Works and trashed.

They will be doing a similar process for the weekend prior to the marathon, but with a bit more force. Officers said online that the bike removal process will be targeting the Eastbound portion of the race route “to clear up the sidewalk for the safety of the spectators.” They said the same 72-hour rules apply, but no bike parking in that area will be allowed on April 21, the day of the race.

If you are planning on catching all of the action of the Marathon from Newton, not far from the Brookline area, you’re safe, apparently. Newton Police Department spokesman Lieutenant Bruce Apotheker said the police won’t be clearing anything away, because frankly, there’s no place to lock a bike. “We don’t have what they have, they have more businesses along the route. We don’t have any places where people are locking up bikes,” he said.

As for Boston, there are plenty of places where bicycles can impede pedestrian and spectator access. Officers from the city said they will be making the call on locked up bicycles on a case-by-case basis, but they won’t be heading out days in advance like the Brookline Police. “If it is determined that the unattended bicycle poses a safety hazard, it will be removed by the Boston Police Department,” said Sgt. Mike McCarthy.