Ever tried commuting by bicycle from the East Bay to San Francisco? It's a challenge. Bikes are banned on the Bay Bridge at all hours, and on BART in commute directions at rush hour.
Of course you can leave your bike at your local station, then hop on a train -- but then you run the risk of theft.
Now BART is offering at least some temporary good news.
The transit agency's police believe they have collared a thief who targeted its stations. And as an experiment the agency will allow bicyclists to ride in commute times and directions on Fridays in August.
The police say they caught 47-year-old Brett Major of San Francisco in the act of stealing a bicycle at the 24th Street Station.
BART police booked Major at San Francisco County Jail on suspicion of burglary, theft, possession of burglary tools, and an outstanding warrant originating from Alameda County. A subsequent search of Majors’ home turned up seven bicycle frames and parts, which BART Police believe to be stolen, the agency said.
If you are missing a bike -- especially if it's one you parked at a BART station -- take a look at the photos of frames BART has posted to see if one of them belongs to you.
You'll have to provide either a case number from a theft report or show other proof of ownership before you can claim your missing ride. (For example, you could show a receipt with a serial number or other identifiable marks unique to the bicycle.) If you recognize the bicycle parts as yours, telephone the BART Police Investigations Unit at (510) 464-7040, or email Detective Wendy Sanchez at Wsanche@bart.gov.
You can also look for your stolen bicycles on a website posted by the San Francisco Police Department’s Ingleside Station. That agency seized 114 recovered stolen bicycles and posted information and photos on May 17, 2012.
In a separate initiative, BART will allow bikes on BART all day on Fridays in August. The idea is to see how bikes during rush hour "will affect passengers and train operations." This pilot program does not change bicycle rules for Monday through Thursday, or BART’s prohibition of riders boarding with bikes in the first car or crowded trains.
If the program goes smoothly, BART might expand it. Its evaluation will include feedback from BART riders, both cyclists and non-cyclists, and an analysis of "operational issues, such as the amount of time a train remains at each station to accommodate bicycle boarding," the agency said.
About 4% of BART customers ride bikes to BART stations. Among those 4%, about 60% bring their bikes on board trains, the agency says.
For more information on BART's bike rules see www.bart.gov/bikes.