How Often Are Bikes Stolen from Muni Buses?

Categories: Public Transit
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Watch your bike
The common practice of stealing bikes never makes headlines. Yet today, we came across a post on Muni Diaries, a local transit blog, that details a type of bike theft that hadn't really been on our radar: stealing the two-wheelers from the bus.

The author gives us a basic narrative: She placed her bike on the rack on the front of the bus and then boarded. That's when the Muni driver warned her that there had been "a rash" of bikes being stolen from the bus racks.

So she took a seat at the front of the bus, to watch over her other means of transportation.
The bus came to a stop at Seventh and Market streets. Lo and behold, as the driver was dealing with paying passengers, a man ran up to the bus and tried to yank the woman's bike from the rack.

"I started to scream ... the bus driver started to honk," the woman writes.

But the man was persistent. At the busy intersection in the Civic Center area, the man continued to try and remove the bike. The woman jumped off the bus to confront him. When he was clearly busted, he turned to her and said, "I'm just playing."

"I've heard of bikes being stolen from buses before, but dismissed it as a rumor or rarity," she writes. "Clearly, this is not the case."

This story piqued our interest -- we wondered how often this actually happens on San Francisco buses.  So we called Paul Rose, spokesman for Muni, who told SF Weekly that the agency hasn't seen any spike in bike thefts on Muni buses -- at all.

Of course, he's not saying it doesn't happen. Rose tells us that the bikes are locked on the rack during transport, but there are easy ways for crooks to take the bikes while a bus is stopped. As anybody who has put a bike on the front of a MUNI bus can tell you, all that keeps the bike in place is a spring-loaded hook. Any thief can walk up and be away with a bike in seconds. Rose, however, declined to go into exact details

"It's not something we want to get out there -- how people are taking these bikes," Rose says.

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Debra Walker had a funny story at the Muni Rider Voter Guide last year, she put her bike on the rack and got off at her stop, not realizing she'd left her bike on board. When she went out side to go where she assumed she'd locked it, it was gone. She was resigned to thinking it'd be stolen...right when the bus pulled up and there it was, still there!

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