Bike Share sup­plier de­signs lock to pre­vent thefts

Baltimore Sun - - AROUND THE REGION -

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.

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