Bike Share supplier designs lock to prevent thefts
A Canadian manufacturer believes it has come up with a solution to the thefts that have plagued the $2.36 million Baltimore Bike Share system: a steel “Baltimore lock” that automatically clamps the bicycles in the station when a would-be thief pulls on the handlebars. “As soon as [the program] started coming down, we started designing a new lock,” Chris King, the Cantonbased marketing adviser for Bewegen, said this week. “It won’t pull out at all. It’ll lock into the station.” During the bike share system’s monthlong temporary shutdown, the fleet of bicycles is being sent back to Montreal for refurbishing, and company officials are expected to visit Baltimore to oversee the installation of the upgraded bicycle docks. Bewegen is paying for the new locks and the refurbishing of the fleet as part of its warranty with the city, King said. “We’re stripping them down to the bone,” he said. The program was introduced last fall with 200 bicycles at 20 stations and was supposed to expand to 500 bicycles at 50 stations in the spring. Instead an unprecedented number of thefts — sometimes as many as 30 in a single day, King said — left maintenance crews chasing the unreturned GPS-enabled bikes all over the city. Many were found damaged. The bike share system is supposed to return to the street Oct. 15, but King said Bewegen is more concerned with putting in place a high-quality system than rushing to return the bikes to the street.