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Pope Francis is coming to Philadelphia in September, and despite what you heard, there’s more to the Visit than the Pope Map Controversy and the sadness on people’s faces when AirBNB users aren’t willing to pay thousands of dollars for our apartments.

The city is allegedly doing their best to make us look our best for our guest of honor, and the (apparently) millions of people from all over the world trekking into the city on September 26.

Part of that: a pre-Pope bike sweep. “Specifically, we will be doing our best to remove abandoned bicycles in areas of the city that will be most impacted by the Papal visit,” according a blog on the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities’ website.

On August 12 and 13, the MOTU will conduct a sweep of abandoned bikes on Philly streets, cutting bicycles off of various fences, bike racks and trees, then donating them to charities that refurbish bicycles. So, if you want to save your old bike locked up in Center City, go get it now.

The city regularly conducts abandoned bike sweeps, about once a year or so. The bikes are often identified either by calls to 311 or the 311 website, and then tagged by the Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities for removal.

An abandoned bicycle, according to city code, is defined as an inoperable bike (missing wheel or tire, bent/corroded wheel, missing seat, handlebars, pedals, broken or inoperable chain) located within the public right-of-way for more than ten days.

“Removing abandoned bicycles is an important part of maintaining the streets for all Philadelphians—and it will be especially important when we welcome the Pope and visitors—as it frees up our sidewalks for pedestrian use and it clears existing parking areas that are designated for cyclists,” says the MOTU blog.

If you want to report an abandoned bicycle,

Submit a request by calling 311 or by the 311 website. Remember to include a description of the bicycle, its location, any damage, and what the bike is locked to (a tree, parking meter, etc.). If we are unable to remove the abandoned bike during this sweep, or if the reported bike is located outside of our priority zones for the Papal visit, we will address the request at a later time.

If your bike has been outside for a while, you may want to make sure it’s hasn’t been claimed for the sweep. It’s completely acceptable for you to remove the yellow MOTU tag so it’s doesn’t get taken.

Randy LoBasso

Author

Randy LoBasso is the policy manager at the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.