June 15, 2017

Time to Beef Up the Bike Racks

Above left, from DC's Scott Circle neighborhood (by way of the Bike Rack's Facebook page), is an indication that the nation's capital should consider following Portland, Oregon's lead in upgrading its bike racks—see above right.

As BTB reported in March 2016, the Portland Bureau of Transportation was prompted by instances of thieves cutting through racks to upgrade the ubiquitous staple rack. The new racks, slowly replacing old ones on the city's streets, sport some security features. A free-floating, steel-wire cable is routed through the rack's hollow steel piping, making it more difficult to sever. A crossbar 10 inches above the ground prevents would-be thieves from unscrewing the bolts and slipping a lock off the bottom of the rack. Might these safeguards become industry standards?

June 13, 2017


In December, an Aussie couple vacationing on the Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan endured a flip-flopped walk of shame wearing "I AM THIEVE" placards after they were caught on CCTV stealing a bike.

Last week a pair of twenty-something vigilantes in Brazil tattooed "EU SOU LADRÃO E VACILÃO"—"I'M A THIEF AND LOSER"—on the forehead of a 17-year-old as punishment, they claim, for attempted bike theft.

While the teen's actions are in doubt—he says he had fallen drunkenly over the bike in question, and was not trying to steal it—those of the tattoo artists are not. In a video they posted online on Friday, they are seen tattooing and taunting the supposed thief.

The 17-year-old, who is said to have mental health and drug abuse problems, was reunited with his family on Sunday, the vigilantes arrested and charged with torture. An online fundraising campaign is collecting money to (translated from Portuguese) "pay for tattoo removal," "assist in the costs of legal proceedings against the torturer," and finance "part of the psychological care and treatment of the child's chemical dependency."

So far over $9,000 has been raised.