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Police seek help identifying suspected Seattle bike share vandal

Police have surveillance video of a man suspected of sabotaging floating share bikes in SODO and are asking for the public’s help in identifying him as they investigate similar dangerous incidents across the city:

Seattle police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a man suspected of sabotaging brake lines on several bike-share bicycles in SODO.

Surveillance video shows the man walking up to several bikes parked at 4th Avenue and South Main Street around 11:45 PM on June 14th. He can be seen manipulating what appears to be a cutting tool around the bikes’ brakes before he walks out of frame.

Police also found surveillance photos from a month earlier, which appear to show the same man damaging a single bike’s brakes near 4th Avenue and Holgate. This incident also occurred in the late evening, around 11:15 PM.

Detectives are also investigating other similar cases in other parts of the city, but have not yet confirmed any linkage between the incidents.

If you recognize the man in the video or have any other information about this case, please contact South Precinct detectives at (206) 386-1855

The incidents of brake line cutting and more have been reported on bikes across the city, including several on Capitol Hill. While there have been no reported injuries linked to the damage, a few riders have reported close calls riding damaged bikes.

Floating bike shares have proven extremely popular in Seattle though have also been a lightning rod topic in the debate on infrastructure spending and the “war on cars.” The city’s study found a surprisingly high percentage of bikes parked correctly and, less surprisingly, a shockingly low percentage of riders choosing to wear a helmet. New regulations have been created to address many of the concerns but may price some providers out.

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12 thoughts on “Police seek help identifying suspected Seattle bike share vandal

  1. Why are people so fucking petty? If someone was cutting the brakes off of cars in the street…. that would be outrages right?

    This is a possible human life we’re talking about. I hope he gets caught.

  2. It’s always a good idea to do a quick safety/brake check on a bike before you ride it, even if it’s NOT a bikeshare bike that has potentially been “modified” by someone in an apparent attempt at demonstrating their distaste for something.

    I wonder if this person is doing it based on some deep-seated dislike of sharing-economy capitalism, or if they just enjoy watching the world burn.

    • The bikeshare terms of service actually require you to inspect the bike, including the brakes, before using and report any issues.

      • Do the bike share companies repeatedly educate people about the importance of that? Beyond the single time info in the TOS (that many people don’t thoroughly read, especially as they are within an app). Do they have videos within the app to explain how to inspect the bike? This seems important especially since many people using bike share are not experienced riders at all and many may be tourists without a sense of city crime. I don’t use bike share, but have had my bike messed with while it was locked up on the street.

      • How dare you expect bike renters to be responsible for ensuring their own safety?!

        Honestly how someone just hops on one of those without even a cursory inspection is beyond me. Natural selection, I suppose.

      • @able I know your first sentence in your comment is satire. That’s fine. So my original point is not misinterpreted, I place strong responsibility on bike rental companies to educate consumers, and only in that context does it make sense to also place great responsibility on bike renters. As when people know better, they can do better. There are other areas in which bike rental companies have seemingly failed, such as not educating people enough about where to leave bikes (and the city not penalizing anyone for the situation) because as blind activists have stated, the randomness of bikes on public sidewalks and other public areas results in serious dangers for them, including direct physical injury, and guide dogs getting tangled up in bikes (as guide dogs have not generally been trained to deal with this new reality). I personally think the city should offer more bike education, and better publicize their discount helmet program (if they even still have it). All said, I also say riders should always check their bikes, including after a visit to a bike repair shop, as they sometimes mess things up too.

  3. The routine way he went up to these, tool apparently in hand, he’s definitely been doing a few of them. Sociopathic behavior. I hope they catch him and throw the book at him.