DC deputy mayor: Don’t park dockless bikes on frozen canal

On Wednesday morning, a picture was posted on Twitter of an Ofo dockless bike parked on a frozen Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. (Courtesy @TwoWheelsDC)
WASHINGTON — Dockless bikes seem to be popping up all around the District — but a D.C. official is reminding cyclists that a frozen body of water is no place to leave one behind.

On Wednesday morning, a picture was posted on Twitter of an Ofo dockless bike parked on a frozen Chesapeake & Ohio Canal. The bike was parked on the canal between the train trestle and the Chain Bridge.

It prompted Kevin Donohue, deputy D.C. mayor for public safety and justice, to plead on Twitter: “Please don’t park your dockless bikes in the middle of the C & O Canal.”

Ofo is one of the many dockless bike brands that can be picked up and dropped off anywhere in D.C. While some find dockless biking advantageous, there have been complaints about how and where users have been parking the bikes.

Sam Zimbabwe, chief project delivery officer with DDOT, said some bikes have been parked in or on dumpsters, inside retail stores, or simply left blocking entrances to buildings and sidewalks. However, on a frozen waterway may be a new one.

In addition to the danger of having a bike on the ice, dockless bike share services are not currently authorized to operate on National Park Service land in the D.C. area, said National Park Service spokeswoman Jenny Anzelmo-Sarles.

“While dockless bike share services do not currently have authorization to operate on National Park Service land in the DC area, we are actively engaged in dialogue with DDOT and bike share operators to address the issue,” Anzelmo-Sarles said in an email to WTOP.

Bikes on National Park Service property are subject to impoundment.

“All riders are reminded to park their bicycles at designated racks; any property left unattended may be removed,” Anzelmo-Sarles said.

A blast of cold air has swept through the D.C.-area since late December, freezing the canal. The occurrence has sent many people to the C&O Canal to skate and play hockey.

The National Park Service said that ice skating is allowed in the park but urges visitors to use extreme caution and to never skate alone.

Sarah Beth Hensley

Sarah Beth Hensley is the Digital News Director at WTOP. She has worked several different roles since she began with WTOP in 2013 and has contributed to award-winning stories and coverage on the website.

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