Abandoned ride-share bikes causing costly problem for Washington State Ferries

SEATTLE  — Bicycles left on Washington State Ferries are causing problems for ferry and Coast Guard operations.

Officials say when a passenger leaves a bicycle behind, Coast Guard and ferry personnel treat like a potential distress situation until the bicyclist can be confirmed safe.

This wastes taxpayer dollars and could impact actual distress situations.

Twelve bikes were left on ferries in the last 18 months. Three were ride-share bikes. Each response can require helicopters, boats and specialized crews to search for nonexistent victims.

Three bike ride-share companies have placed thousands of bikes on Seattle streets.

A recent ride-share bike left on a ferry resulted in a $17,000 helicopter and crew search along the ferry route. No one had fallen overboard.

Officials encourage passengers to leave ride-share bikes at the pier and walk onto the ferry.