D.C. Capital Bikeshare stations go offline before third night of citywide protests

Media Credit: File Photo by Camille Desanto | Assistant Photo Editor

Capital Bikeshare tweeted that the company's bike stations would be "offline" Sunday night as the company removed all D.C. stations from a map on its website that displays each bikeshare posting throughout the DMV.

Updated June 1, 2020 at 4:28 p.m.

The District’s Capital Bikeshare stations closed Sunday evening under fear protests expected to last into the night could potentially cause damages to the bicycles.

The office of Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed the stations’ closure was tied to concerns that the bikes may be “abused” during Sunday night’s protests over police brutality and the killing of George Floyd, according to a tweet from Washington Post reporter Fenit Nirrapil. The decision was announced during the District’s third day of protests, in which crowds marched toward Lafayette Square in front of the White House following a night of violence, fires and looting that damaged city shops Saturday night.

Capital Bikeshare tweeted Sunday afternoon that the company’s bike stations would be “offline” and bikes would be “unavailable” Sunday night as the company removed all D.C. stations from a map on its website that displays each bikeshare posting throughout the DMV. Stations in Virginia and Maryland remain open, according to the map.

The website states the city’s bike sharing system had usually provided nonstop service to D.C. commuters before concerns of physical damages to the bikes during the city’s protests. Capital Bikeshare provides more than 4,300 bikes at more than 500 stations across the DMV, according to the website.

Lauren Stephens, a spokesperson for the District Department of Transportation, said the agency halted Capital Bikeshare service because of “scooter misuse” during the second night of protests in D.C. DDOT officials said protesters used the scooters as projectiles to shatter store windows during lootings of D.C. businesses, DCist reported.

“Due to several incidents of scooter misuse across the District over the weekend, DDOT has requested removal of all dockless vehicles from the District’s public right of way,” Stephens said.

DDOT asked dockless vehicle companies to pull their scooters off the streets in conjunction with Capital Bikeshare’s closure, according to DCist. The article states that Revel, a moped company, and dockless vehicle companies like Spin, Lime, Lyft and Skip all shut down service in D.C. Sunday night.

Patrick Kennedy, the chair of the Foggy Bottom and West End Neighborhood Commission, said in a tweet that the closure of bikeshare stations while car sharing apps like Free2Move continue service exemplify bias within the District’s transportation system.

“If you want a really quick, direct & topical example of the biases underlying our transportation system, reflect on the fact that you can rent a Free-to-Move vehicle right now in proximity to the White House, but Bikeshare and scooters are shut down citywide,” he said in the tweet Sunday night.

The bikeshare closures come along a citywide curfew Bowser ordered Sunday night, which runs from 11:00 p.m. Sunday until 6:00 a.m. Monday.

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