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  1. #1
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Carrying a new bike around on the bus in Seattle... safe?

    Hi.

    I just bought a new Trek bike. I plan on taking it to trails and bike paths for some run rides, and I want to use metro buses as the means of transportation. Since I have a monthly pass (as I take the bus to work), taking my bike on the bus will cost me nothing more.

    My question is, how safe is it? I have carried my old bike on the metro buses before (mainly short routes) without any problem, and I've personally never seen any bike stolen from the bus rack in the past few years. OTOH, my bike is brand new, and I don't want to take too much of a chance.

    What's your take on it?

  2. #2
    weights are heavy Tober1's Avatar
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    I'd say keep a keen eye on it. Sit near the front and don't take your eye off it. OR just HTFU and ride to the trails

  3. #3
    Member 100lbHustle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tober1 View Post
    I'd say keep a keen eye on it. Sit near the front and don't take your eye off it. OR just HTFU and ride to the trails
    Please refer to Rule #5 of the Velominati guidelines... XD. But in all seriousness i would definitely keep an eye on your bike while riding, OR have a small U lock or cable lock to attach from the front wheel to the base of the bike rack on the bus. This will AT LEAST dissuade someone from trying at the least and this will slow down the hoodlum if he/she decides to go for it anyway. But PLEASE for the love of everything, switch out your front and or back wheel skewers to non-quick release, your first line of defense.

    !DISCLAIMER!
    Putting anything like a lock onto something owned by the department of transportation i.e. a bus, might not be within your lawful limits, so talk to them before you lock your bike in any way to the rack. I hope the info helps! cya on the streets!

  4. #4
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tober1 View Post
    OR just HTFU and ride to the trails
    Yeah, that's probably the most surefire way of keeping your bike safe. In fact, that's exactly what I did this morning. I didn't even bring my lock with me. I knew my bike would never leave my hands.

  5. #5
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    Unless someone actively watches you dive to the back of the bus and disappear into your phone it would take a really brazen criminal to pull a bike off the front of the bus. The drivers tend to track who the riders are or the thief would be worried they would but really to be honest it is almost always faster to ride a bike vs. take a bus in this area unless you are using the buses that use the freeways.

    Even up hill, I kept waiting for the 67 to pass me today as it was behind me at the light to cross the University bridge but I kept hearing it half a block behind me all the way up to Ravenna where I turned right.

  6. #6
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyrikki View Post
    Unless someone actively watches you dive to the back of the bus and disappear into your phone it would take a really brazen criminal to pull a bike off the front of the bus. The drivers tend to track who the riders are or the thief would be worried they would but really to be honest it is almost always faster to ride a bike vs. take a bus in this area unless you are using the buses that use the freeways.

    Even up hill, I kept waiting for the 67 to pass me today as it was behind me at the light to cross the University bridge but I kept hearing it half a block behind me all the way up to Ravenna where I turned right.
    Thanks for the reply. My main concern is when I take the 41, which goes on I-5 between DT and Northgate. On the day I did it, I decided to ride to the last stop in DT (Convention Centre) to get on and get off at the first stop off the freeway (Northgate TC) instead of remaining on board though Pinehurst (my neighbourhood). That way, I figured I'd be able to reduce the chance of someone grabbing my bike off the rack.

    I did ride all the way from home to work in the morning, but chose to take the bus on the way back home because... well, I was lazy!

  7. #7
    Squeaky Wheel woodway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 100lbHustle View Post
    OR have a small U lock or cable lock to attach from the front wheel to the base of the bike rack on the bus.
    The driver won't let you lock your bike to the rack. But you can put a U-Lock or cable lock around the wheels/frame so that if someone does grab it they won't be able to ride off with it. If they have to carry it odds are you can run them down

  8. #8
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    I have been using the racks since they were first installed and have had no problems. You do want to enter and leave the bus from the front door. Try and sit toward the front. Under no circumstances do you lock your bike to the rack, it is unnecessary. I have never heard of anyone having their bike stolen off a bus, but if you are nervous just keep an eye on it at any stops.
    Matthew 6

  9. #9
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy View Post
    I have been using the racks since they were first installed and have had no problems. You do want to enter and leave the bus from the front door. Try and sit toward the front. Under no circumstances do you lock your bike to the rack, it is unnecessary. I have never heard of anyone having their bike stolen off a bus, but if you are nervous just keep an eye on it at any stops.
    I've carried my bike on the bus rack a few times by now - all without any incident. I do stand in front so I can keep an eye out on the bike. FYI, King County Metro now requires that you enter from the front door (and pay right there). The more I do it, the more I get used to it.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  10. #10
    Center of the Universe ngateguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    I've carried my bike on the bus rack a few times by now - all without any incident. I do stand in front so I can keep an eye out on the bike. FYI, King County Metro now requires that you enter from the front door (and pay right there). The more I do it, the more I get used to it.
    Yes it does, when I first started using them I was more concerned that it would fall off
    Matthew 6

  11. #11
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ngateguy View Post
    Yes it does, when I first started using them I was more concerned that it would fall off
    I still kinda feel like that as I see my bike bounce up and down on the rack...
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  12. #12
    Senior Member NVanHiker's Avatar
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    I've had drivers who I swear are trying to shake the bike off, lol.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    What is your bike made out of?

    I've never seen or heard of a bike being stolen from the racks on the bus. Seems like the potential is there because you can make a quick getaway on a bike, but as far as I know it just doesn't happen.

    Because the bus has room for two bikes, I'd be concerned about a carbon frame. Somebody else puts their bike on the other rack, the bus hits a pothole, the bikes knock against each other. Eventually that will crack carbon tubing. That's the only thing I'd worry about.

    The advice about staying near the front of the bus and keeping an eye on the bike is good.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  14. #14
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    What is your bike made out of?

    I've never seen or heard of a bike being stolen from the racks on the bus. Seems like the potential is there because you can make a quick getaway on a bike, but as far as I know it just doesn't happen.

    Because the bus has room for two bikes, I'd be concerned about a carbon frame. Somebody else puts their bike on the other rack, the bus hits a pothole, the bikes knock against each other. Eventually that will crack carbon tubing. That's the only thing I'd worry about.

    The advice about staying near the front of the bus and keeping an eye on the bike is good.
    Mine's an aluminum frame with a carbon fork.

    Our buses can accommodate 3 bikes, and as far as I can see, there's enough room between the racks so the bikes don't hit one another - unless the bus slams into a wall.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  15. #15
    Senior Member percy kittens's Avatar
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    This question has been asked a few times, so I asked a driver if they had ever heard of a bike being stolen off the rack and the answer was no. Granted, that is one driver in a large fleet and whether Metro transmits that specific information to all its drivers is unknown.

  16. #16
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by percy kittens View Post
    This question has been asked a few times, so I asked a driver if they had ever heard of a bike being stolen off the rack and the answer was no. Granted, that is one driver in a large fleet and whether Metro transmits that specific information to all its drivers is unknown.
    It may depend on the route, too. Which route do you usually take? I take the 41 most frequently. I have not witnessed any bike theft on that route since I started taking it in July. Some peace of mind.

    BTW, do you ride on the Interurban Trail? I love it there.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  17. #17
    Senior Member percy kittens's Avatar
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    The 301 if I'm commuting + bike and had a brutal day at work. The 331 if I rode past MaryMoor and don’t want to climb Perkins back to Shoreline. I'll grab a bus anywhere if I bonk. I wish they'd allow bikes on the 520 bridge. That's the only reason I grab a bus from that-a-way to this-a-way.

    I ride the UIT when I commute. Hey did you notice they finally put stop signs for the cross traffic along the IUT from about 105th to about 83rd? Sweet. It makes a real difference when drivers actually stop to pause :-p

  18. #18
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by percy kittens View Post
    The 301 if I'm commuting + bike and had a brutal day at work. The 331 if I rode past MaryMoor and don’t want to climb Perkins back to Shoreline. I'll grab a bus anywhere if I bonk. I wish they'd allow bikes on the 520 bridge. That's the only reason I grab a bus from that-a-way to this-a-way.
    I hear you about the 520. The good news is that the new bridge they're supposed to build will have bike lanes. Let's hope it does happen!

    I ride the UIT when I commute. Hey did you notice they finally put stop signs for the cross traffic along the IUT from about 105th to about 83rd? Sweet. It makes a real difference when drivers actually stop to pause :-p
    I did notice the signal at 105th and Fremont the other day. Any idea when they installed it? I usually only ride north of 110th. I know the signal wasn't there before simply because I used to live in the apartment building right at that corner.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  19. #19
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    get a seat by the front door.

  20. #20
    Squeaky Wheel woodway's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post
    I hear you about the 520. The good news is that the new bridge they're supposed to build will have bike lanes. Let's hope it does happen!
    Not supposed to build - it's being built! They have nice drawings on the DOT website...it's got bike lanes! Now if they would just go faster...

  21. #21
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    Not supposed to build - it's being built! They have nice drawings on the DOT website...it's got bike lanes! Now if they would just go faster...
    Awesome! I'm so behind, it's not even funny.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  22. #22
    Senior Member percy kittens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daihard View Post

    I did notice the signal at 105th and Fremont the other day. Any idea when they installed it? I usually only ride north of 110th. I know the signal wasn't there before simply because I used to live in the apartment building right at that corner.
    My roommate swears that the light has been there since we moved here (July 2008) and the UIT became part of a regular route. Now what IS new are the ground activators. I'd say they are maybe a year or less. I could be wrong (happens all the time). A Gmaps street-view dated Oct 2012 shows the little activator sign on the ground, where the rider sits and trips the light.

    That's great news about the 520, Woodway! It will be nice to get my bridge on without having to go to I-90 or Hood Canal.

  23. #23
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by percy kittens View Post
    My roommate swears that the light has been there since we moved here (July 2008) and the UIT became part of a regular route. Now what IS new are the ground activators. I'd say they are maybe a year or less. I could be wrong (happens all the time). A Gmaps street-view dated Oct 2012 shows the little activator sign on the ground, where the rider sits and trips the light.
    Your roommate may very well be right. I moved out in the spring of 2003, so it's very possible that they installed the light between 2003 and 2008. I didn't notice the activator there the last time I rode through the intersection (about a week ago) - I must have missed it. I did notice the "No going straight" sign that says "except for bikes." Those signs and the activators indicate that they installed the light mainly, if not solely, for the cyclists that ride on the Interurban Trail. I like that.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

  24. #24
    Senior Member percy kittens's Avatar
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    And now...speedbumps!
    Saw them when I rode in on Saturday. I'd say they are <2 weeks old. From 103rd down to 83rd they are placed every 3 blocks. They are the bigger kind, not the short annoying ones, but the kinds that bikes ride over but cars must presumably still slow down a bit for. In my opinion, they are not high enough (cant get any air going over one) to make a driver want to slow down, but hey, I appreciate the effort. I think the locals are getting used to the new stop signs as well, for people are actually stopping. I made the entire run on the IUT from 103rd to 83rd without stopping once! Just slowing a bit at the roundabouts and for the occasional thril- seeking squirrel.

  25. #25
    Senior Member daihard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by percy kittens View Post
    And now...speedbumps!
    Saw them when I rode in on Saturday. I'd say they are <2 weeks old. From 103rd down to 83rd they are placed every 3 blocks. They are the bigger kind, not the short annoying ones, but the kinds that bikes ride over but cars must presumably still slow down a bit for. In my opinion, they are not high enough (cant get any air going over one) to make a driver want to slow down, but hey, I appreciate the effort. I think the locals are getting used to the new stop signs as well, for people are actually stopping. I made the entire run on the IUT from 103rd to 83rd without stopping once! Just slowing a bit at the roundabouts and for the occasional thril- seeking squirrel.
    Yeah I noticed the speed bumps too, as well as all the stop signs you'd mentioned! You're right - now we can ride from 85th all the way up to 105th without having to yield to the crossing traffic at all. That's very nice.

    I rode there on Saturday as well. probably around 1 - 1:30 PM. We may have crossed paths.
    Badly-behaved cyclists are usually just cyclists with inadequate infrastructure. Or none at all. - Mikael Colville-Andersen

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