Bikes on Buses: getting left behind

Seattle’s had it’s fare share of problems with bike on buses lately, but this article makes it clear it’s not all Metro’s fault. Apparently almost 900 people a year forget their bikes in bus racks. Kent Peterson to the rescue – if you left yours on, he (or some other nice person) can help you get it back at Bikestation. Frankly, it’s not clear to me what gets left behind more often, the bike or the rider.

I can easily imagine how this might happen, especially at a busy bus stop when talking with a friend. The driver drives off and there’s not much more you can do. Of course, the article mentions other reasons as well (hempfest being the chief culprit, although I’m sure all sorts of things get left on the bus during that day).

I’m sure this would be way less of a shock than getting off the bus and your bike not being on the rack anymore. This is apparently fairly common in downtown according to the drivers I get a chance to speak with. All the more reason to stand at the front of the coach and keep your eye on your bike.

Any huggers had to to retrieve a bike from Kent?


I’m both a bicyclist and a driver for Metro, and although I’ve never had anyone leave a bicycle on the bus, it happens all the time.  Most of the bicycles are either old, cheap beaters, or BMX bicycles.  My understanding is that most of the bicycles that are left are usually stolen, and the person who put it on the bus is not the actual owner, so doesn’t really care about it. 

I also will keep an eye out for who put a bike on the rack, and make sure someone else doesn’t try to take it off, but don’t count on every driver to do that.  I know when I put my bike on the bus, I keep an eye on it the whole time.

Hey Scott, thanks for the comment. Glad you read the site! I’m a regular multi-modal bike-bus commuter and while I’m occasionally mystified by metro I almost always enjoy interacting with the drivers.

Standing at the front of the bus is a great way to keep your eye on your bike. It works great for bus route (very few stops), but I can see how having somebody up front with a big bag just hanging out could be a bit troublesome if you’re stopping every few blocks. Got any advice?

I’m a bus driver in Minneapolis, and I’ve had probably 10 bikes left on my bus in the last four or five years since we’ve had racks on all the buses. They’re usually decent bikes owned by people who just don’t want to bike in the dark or in the cold. It’s almost always somebody who’s been on the bus for more than a few minutes and just forgets about it. Sometimes people get off the back door and don’t realize the driver isn’t their babysitter (lots of people have this problem). It’s probably different in various cities, but the bikes are usually kept at the garage for a week or two (there are usually about five new ones each week). They go downtown to lost and found for a month, then they’re given to the police, who keep them for a while then auction them off.

Was it Portland or Seattle buses that have signs up reminding riders to mention the word bike to the driver when they’re alighting? It’s a good sign.

Check what NYC did with some of their abandoned bikes—[an art project](

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