Sick of seeing rusty, abandoned bikes chained up in NYC? Instagram can help with that

A new project is calling for New Yorkers to post snaps of "dead pedals" to encourage the city to remove them

Abandoned bike and flying pigeon.

Abandoned bike and flying pigeon. Photograph: Walter Shin

Biking in New York City has never been an easy feat; between the cars, buses, wandering tourists and other cyclists, the list of obstacles is endless. Even parking your fixie can be difficult, due to the hundreds of abandoned bikes taking up room in city racks. Marketing student and frustrated bicyclist Pat Gamble has decided to help clean up these two-wheelers using—what else?—Instagram.

Gamble began taking photos of these "dead" bikes about three weeks ago and hashtagging them with #deadpedalNY. Using Instagram's "Add photo to map" function, he created a map of their locations, which he hopes will prompt the Department of Sanitation to take action and clean up cluttered bike racks. Though the city encourages New Yorkers to report abandoned bikes by phone, Gamble says that Instagram is much faster. "It’s about a 15- to 20-minute phone call just to get them to come out and look at the bike and tag it," Gamble explained in an interview with FastCo. "Then someone won't come back to pick it up until a few weeks later." He hopes that the immediacy of the social network will encourage more people to become involved.
Based on our research, it looks like the East Village is the most decorated with bikes well past their prime. But according to Dead Pedal New York's Instagram, the bikes (or their remains) are taking up space from Chelsea to Queens. Type the hashtag in to find gloomy B&W photos of a single black wheel, or a rusty frame glowing under a highly saturated filter with captions like, "These dead bikes are everywhere!"
The city won’t remove abandoned two-wheelers that are still in decent shape, which means only a percentage of bikes will be trashed if Gamble’s project is successful—but it doesn’t hurt to raise awareness for the problem. So next time you spot one of these eyesores, snap a photo and slap a filter on it—it just might be gone the next time you come back.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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