The BRC Yellow Bike Program and YOU

by Denise Muppethead on Thursday, August 23, 2012 at 12:08pm ·

Hey fellow Black Rock City citizens, I wanted to share some information with you about the BRC Yellow Bike Project and hope that you will not only read it but pass it along to other burners and burner mailing lists. This information is relevant not only to those that use the yellow bikes, but to anyone that has an interest in respectful use of community property and helping to ensure that this generous and useful program is around for years to come for those that need it.

First, a brief explanation of the Black Rock City Yellow Bike Project directly from the Burning Man web site:

Burning Man runs a community Yellow Bike program, where a fleet of bikes are made available for participants to borrow for one-time, one-way, no-guarantees use. These bikes are painted green and (ironically) say “Yellow Bike” on them. A Yellow Bike can be taken at any time by anybody, and used to travel to their destination. Once it’s been dismounted, anybody else can take it and use it as they need to, and leave it when they arrive … rinse and repeat.

The success of the Yellow Bike Project depends not only on the hard work of the DPW Yellow Bike Crew, but on the cooperation of the citizens of Black Rock City. Each day the yellow bike crew repossesses DOZENS of bikes that have been decorated, painted, or abused in some way and spends time repairing and restoring them.  We need your help so that these people can spend less time in the shop and more time enjoying the event just like each of you.

Even if you don’t use the yellow bikes, we urge you to DO SOMETHING* if you see a friend, campmate, or fellow BRC citizen misusing these community resources.

Not sure what’s okay and whats not? We’re here to help you with this handy dandy list of Yellow Bike DOs and DON’Ts.

When using a Yellow Bike, DO NOT:

  • Decorate the bike or attempt to obscure the fact that it is a yellow bike. Decorating a yellow bike is not a form of artistic expression. It’s vandalism – pure and simple.
  • Lock the bike. These bikes are for community use and are only “yours” when you are actively riding them. If you see someone locking up a yellow bike or notice that one of your campmates has locked a bike, say something. The Yellow Bike Crew and many other members of the community will not hesitate to cut locks found on yellow bikes.
  • Hoard the bike. When you are not actively using a yellow bike, you must leave it on the street in an easily accessible location. Never bring a yellow bike into a camp or hide it to prevent others from using it. If you see a yellow bike in your camp, take it out to the road.
  • Steal the bike. This should go without saying, but each year we lose dozens of bikes. These bikes are provided for use in the city during the event, and are not meant to be taken home with you. If you see someone loading a yellow bike into their vehicle, say something or call a ranger for assistance.
  • Take parts from a yellow bike. The yellow bikes are not provided as a bank of spare parts for your bike. If you are unprepared for damage to your own bike there are several bike repair shops in the city that will be happy to help you. Do not fool yourself into thinking that taking something even as simple as a chain from a yellow bike is anything other than THEFT.
  • Argue with a member of the Yellow Bike Crew if they ask for the bike. It is their job to maintain the yellow bikes for everyone’s benefit, and if they notice you are riding a bike that needs to be repaired or restored in any way you can make their job easier by simply giving it up.

When using a Yellow Bike, DO:

  • Leave it in an easily accessible place for other members of the community when you are not ACTIVELY riding it (and by actively, we mean when your butt is not actively in the seat).
  • Return damaged yellow bikes to designated areas including most ranger stations and the Yellow Bike Repair Shop at 5:30 and B. If you have the knowledge and proper tools to do minor repairs, such as fixing a flat, you are encouraged to do so. Please note: Channel Locks are NOT proper bike repair tools. If the bike is damaged enough to require something that isn’t found on your average bike multitool, please just bring it to the bike repair shop. We may even reward you!
  • Remove any decorations you find on a yellow bike. Even if you didn’t put it there, you can help maintain the integrity of the bikes and ensure that others will easily recognize them.
  • Wear pants! Seriously, people. We respect your right to let it all hang out in Black Rock City, but please use a little discretion when using these community resources and have some respect for the people that will use it after you.

* Note: While we encourage citizens of BRC to speak up when a yellow bike is being misused, the Yellow Bike Crew does not condone abusive or destructive actions. If your respectful attempt to intervene turns confrontational, call a ranger or just leave it be.

Thank you so much for your help and cooperation!

This message has been brought to you by Deneez Nuts and the rest of the kinder, gentler DPW Yellow Bike Crew. And beer. And by the letter L.

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