Quilas Exclusive: Local Kids Taking Citibikes!

[Updated July 26]

Quilas has learned (actually, a couple of weeks ago — it’s just taken me this long to write about it) of a scam of almost epic proportions. So far, no other news agency or “East Village” blog has reported this.

As every Citibike rider knows, you’re not always sure, when you lock up your bike, if the lock actually worked. The light is supposed to turn green to indicate that the lock is secure, but sometimes only the yellow light comes on, and the green light doesn’t. When this happens to me, I test it — sometimes the bike stays in place and sometimes it comes back out — but apparently not everyone does this.

Quilas has learned that neighborhood kids have been checking the bikes to see if they’re locked. When they find one that isn’t, they take it for a ride! Sometimes more than one bike per station is available this way, and friends ride together. This occurs primarily east of Avenue A because: 1) there are more kids over here; and 2) it’s safer to ride than on First or Second Avenues.

Photo credit: Dr. S.

When they’re finished, they don’t lock them up, they just leave them near the station for the next kid, or wherever they happen to be.


Quilas strongly discourages this practice. These bikes are heavy and weighted low to the ground; they’re not easy for a kid to maneuver. Also, taking them would most certainly be considered stealing, if not… STEALING!

Tonight, when I locked up my bike, a kid of about 6 was moving down the row, lifting up the seats. “I’m checking to see if they’re locked,” he said.


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July 26

Recently, I’ve been seeing more adults doing this also. I haven’t seen them taking the bikes, just hanging out with their friends while straddling them, quite obviously not in a hurry to be at another Citibike station within thirty minutes!