View Full Version : Bike thefts on TriMet?

10-20-2007, 07:01 AM
A recent local CL ad mentioned that they had their bike "stolen off of trimet". This brought up a question that I've been meaning to ask for some time now, how big a problem is it that bikes are stolen from the bike rack on city buses?
I tend to not use the bus that often (only in emergencies) to ferry my bike, as I normally just ride it, but the few times I have, I've been concerned at how exposed and easily accessible it is and how easy it would be for someone to quickly unhook and book in heavy city traffic conditions since it is purposely designed with easy access in mind.
It would obviously slow the system down considerably if cyclists stopped to lock/unlock their bikes when used (passengers would get annoyed, certainly!) but what else could be done to stem such problems if such exists?


10-20-2007, 09:26 AM
I had a flat so I hoped on a bus in clackamas and rode up 82nd to the max station. The bus was packed like sardeans so I ended up in the back and when I hoped off my bike was gone. I tryed wining to the driver and then to trimet but they just said "sorry, we are not liable for personal items".:mad:

10-20-2007, 05:41 PM
I've never heard of this happening until recently, but I never allow myself to be anywhere in a bus that I can't see my bike (unless the bus is otherwise empty). Same on MAX; I always sit or stand near my bike. I'm not sure I could catch someone who decided to steal my bike, but at least I'd see them.

You can always choose to ride a cheap bike that nobody would want to steal :). I also find that if you regularly commute the same route, the driver will get to know both you and your bike. I've never tested the theory, but I'd hope someone else taking your bike would get the driver's attention.

Jonathan Maus
10-20-2007, 08:39 PM
I've heard several stories of bikes being stolen off the MAX.

Here is one I covered back in April that had an interesting twist... the victim was a Washington County Commissioner (and major biker).


10-20-2007, 09:55 PM
Soon after I moved to the metro system, I was talking to the bus driver about my bike, and he told a story of someone who lost their bike by sitting in back while it was crowded.

Since then, I ALWAYS sit up front when on a bus unless I give up my seat to a Honored Citizen. If I yield my seat I ALWAYS stand up front, and REFUSE to move back. I'll get off the bus and ride or wait for the next bus before I sit in the back w/my bike on board.

When on the MAX riding any distance (ie... Beaverton to Gresham), I use my cable and U Lock, and strip off my lights/etc. It's an annoyance, but the peace of mind is priceless. Shorter distances and I either stand by the bike, or sit and watch it whenever the doors are open.

I wish TriMet would take a hint and give us jump seats to sit next to our bikes.

Sorry to hear about your loss Tacohut

10-22-2007, 08:47 AM
Max: Ulock to the yellow handle next to the door.

Bus: Ulock wheel to the oval bar that you wheels sit in.

Problem solved.

10-22-2007, 12:16 PM
Max: Ulock to the yellow handle next to the door.

Bus: Ulock wheel to the oval bar that you wheels sit in.

Problem solved.

Is a bus driver going to patient enough to give you enough time to install a ulock?

10-22-2007, 11:48 PM
i usually just helmet lock my bike to the yellow bar.

basically, make it a mild annoyance for someone to take your bike, they wont.

sometimes i ride up in the taller train (blue line) and can wedge my bike on the big open space on the side by the doors. then i can rest my leg against it to keep it from moving (and im touching it so I would notice if it got moved) i usually do that when I'm tired so I can sleep for a few on Max.

10-23-2007, 02:21 PM
On MAX,there is no reason not to stay alert and with your bike - problem solved. Or cable lock the bike to the hanger if you absolutely cannot stay awake or pay attention...

On the bus: Before the bus comes, lock your U-lock around the rear wheel inside the triangle. Also loop a light cable through the front wheel and lash that to the U-lock. Your bike now is not only un-ridable, it cannot even be rolled away. Someone can still lift it out of the rack, but they will have to carry it. Thieves are more likely to just take a pass... This does not cost the driver or other passengers ANY extra time,but does give you a fair degree of protection. I still try and strap-hang near the front to keep an eagle-eye on my bike anyway, but this should dramatically reduce the likelihood that anyone will attempt to take your bike.

10-24-2007, 06:14 AM
nofrills - I tried to lock my front wheel to the bottom bar on the bus bike rack and the driver went apeshit. i walked a long way home that day. have you actually done this without a problem?

Tait - i have to say that riding a cheap bike in no way protects you against theft. anything not nailed down and locked three ways to sunday will disappear if it's an easy mark.

if you can't keep an eye on your bike because of crowded bus conditions, get off at the next stop. it seems crazy to have to be so vigilant, but if you really depend on your bike for daily transportation, then you pretty much have to learn to live with a little paranoia.

and don't forget to take down your serial numbers and take a few pics of your bike. some folks are actually getting their bikes back through police action and such.

10-26-2007, 10:45 AM
I'm another who will not be anywhere but up front if I have to put my bike on the bus. I had heard of this happening before the one time I had to actually take the bus with my bike, so I just sat up front. When it got crowded I gave up my seat and stood. When more people piled on I just turned slightly to let them by so they could stand further back on the bus while I stayed up front where I could see my bike. If anyone had commented, I would have just said "After I get off I still have to get my bike so being first off doesn't hold the bus up as much as if I am last off."

Sorry to hear about your bike tacohut.

11-02-2007, 02:27 PM
Yeah I read the craigs list ad that went up last week where the guy got his bike stolen, That sucks. But just this week after reading the ad, I was riding the max back home to the beav, I saw a guy who just cable locked his bike to the yellow handle, great Idea. I saw him do it before I read this thread.

And when it comes to buses I'm always a little sketch about putting my bike right up front on the rack for just anyone to take .. especially when the Bus drivers don't give a hoot. So I sit right up front where I can see it.

11-02-2007, 02:37 PM
Yeah, locking your bike to the bus or to the bars does not always go over so well, not to mention it's a total pain if the MAX is crowded.

If in doubt, I do the front wheel to the down tube thing. You can do that before you get on and take it off after you get off. Yeah, they can grab the bike, but can't ride off with it. It's a deterent.

Theft happens quite a bit on the MAX/TriMet. A friend of mine had her bike ripped off of the MAX. The guy stood by her bike while the doors opened, waited til the last moment and just as the doors were closing, he grabbed it and was gone.

He was nabbed weeks later BTW.

11-04-2007, 08:32 AM
Yeah, locking your bike to the bus or to the bars does not always go over so well, not to mention it's a total pain if the MAX is crowded.

If in doubt, I do the front wheel to the down tube thing. You can do that before you get on and take it off after you get off.

This is what I do. Not only is the bike not likely to be stolen from the bus, no one will be riding off with it while I'm waiting (remember, a stolen bike is its own getaway vehicle). A few times I've had to lock the bike after I put it on the rack, but I'm pretty fast with my U lock and no driver has yelled at me yet.

On MAX I either stand next to my bike or lock it to the handle next to the door.

12-11-2007, 02:37 AM
Does anybody know if there is actually any TriMet policy on this? It would be nice to be able to tell the driver to go shovel sand if he gets snappy about locking the bike.

If the driver gets snappy, maybe ask if he is willing to take responsibility and pay for the bike if it gets stolen? No? Didn't think so, STFU :P

12-11-2007, 08:09 AM
Bus: Ulock wheel to the oval bar that you wheels sit in.

Sounds good.

Max: Ulock to the yellow handle next to the door.

I saw this on the Max. The bike was locked with a cable lock and was swinging on the hook with the owner nowhere near it. Don't you have to stay with your bike on the Max? No mention of it on http://trimet.org/howtoride/bikes/bikesonmax.htm , but one would think it makes sense. If this bike had swung into someone I wouldn't be surprised if they "repositioned" it.