He’s the hero cyclists need and the hero they deserve. Bike Batman roams the streets of Seattle, Gotham of the Pacific Northwest, in search of bike thieves to confront and stolen bicycles to return. This vigilante does not wear a mask to hide his identity, though he officially remains anonymous as he performs his sacred duty to “reunite people with their bikes.” The Jokers of King County, beware; Bike Batman and those he protects will have the last laugh.
An engineer by day, Bike Batman has tracked down and returned 22 bicycles in Seattle in the year since he began his superhero career. “It feels really good to be able to reunite people with their bikes,” says the Dark Knight on Wheels. “There are people that it means so much to. This hunk of steel and paint is worth much more than the price tag.” The Emerald City is in need of his services. The Seattle Police Department received 1,561 reports of bike thefts in 2015, a rate double that of 2010. “If you try to get cops involved, nine times out of 10, they just aren’t available to help,” says Bryan Hance, co-founder of Bike Index, an online bike registration database which allows cyclists to report if their bike is stolen.
Bike Batman uses Bike Index to cross reference suspicious bikes for sale on Craigslist, then arranges a meeting with the suspected bike thief. To ensure safety, he usually informs the police of his actions. Like Commissioner Gordon’s team in Gotham, the Seattle Police complement Bike Batman’s work. In more than half of the successful attempts to retrieve a stolen bike, the culprit has been arrested by the police. As exciting as his work is, Bike Batman maintains important differences from his namesake. “I’m not out fighting crime and punching people,” he says. “I’m telling people: this is not yours.”
Via the Guardian