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Dockless bikes keep ending up underwater

A LimeBike was spotted floating in the water in East Boston this week.Steve Holt

In what has become something of a trend, dockless rental bikes recently introduced to communities around the Boston area continue to end up underwater.

In the past several weeks, at least four of the free-standing bikes — two owned by Ofo and two owned by LimeBike — have reportedly been found submerged in Arlington, Quincy, and East Boston, as residents grow accustomed to a new wave of bike-share companies rolling out their services locally.

On Thursday, Boston resident Steve Holt spotted a LimeBike among the seaweed at the Portside at East Pier, in East Boston, he said.

“@limebike locations are just everywhere in #EastBoston!” he joked on Twitter. The tweet included a picture of the bright green bike just beneath the ocean’s surface.


The same day, someone walking through the Fresh Pond area, where Cambridge and Arlington meet, noticed a LimeBike in a small pond near the Minuteman Bikeway trail. The person posted a picture of the bike in the water to a Facebook group for Arlington residents.

“One down,” the person reported. “A LimeBike flavoring the waters around Alewife Station, seen today.”

The company had its bikes ending up in water in Yonkers, N.Y., in May, shortly after its services were introduced there.

Reports of similar incidents have also come in from people in Texas, California, Washington, and Colorado.

“Lime has become very popular in the Boston area; in fact, nearly 70,000 trips have already taken place throughout the greater Boston metro [area],” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “Out of the hundreds of LimeBikes in use, only a few have been vandalized, which is consistent with the low rate of vandalism and theft — less than 1 percent — we experience nationwide.”

LimeBike, which recently launched in Arlington, Belmont, Everett, Watertown, Malden, and several other communities, uses a system similar to that employed by Boston’s Blue Bikes; however, riders don’t need to return a used bike to a dock once they are finished. Bikes can be located by using an app that tells users where they can pick up a ride.


Officials in communities where the bikes have been introduced have been trying to coach residents on how to properly store the rides when they are done using them.

“Please be sure to park and ride responsibly. Park on the sidewalk (don’t ride on it) and never block the public ways,” officials in Arlington said Monday. “Be a good . . . neighbor.”

Belmont police reminded residents not to report the presence of bikes to the department as an emergency.

“The lime green bikes popping up around town belong to a bike share company,” police tweeted Wednesday. “Please do not dial 911 to report a @limebike in your neighborhood.”

The two recent LimeBike reports follow an incident in Quincy late last month where police plucked a pair of Ofo Bikes out of the harbor, sparking an investigation.

At the time of the underwater discovery, which required the assistance of the department’s dive team, an official from the bike company said that while there have been some “bad actors,” for the most part residents have “warmly embraced” the new bike-sharing program.

Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.