04/16/2014 11:08 EDT | Updated 06/16/2014 05:59 EDT

Toronto's yearly bike clean up begins

Bikes that have spent the winter parked on sidewalks will be tagged and removed over the next few weeks in the city's yearly spring bike blitz.

The city says it needs more parking space for bikes, and that abandoned bikes take up a lot of that space. 

Mayor Rob Ford says removing abandoned bikes "will help to improve the look of our neighbourhoods." Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, who also chairs the Public Works and Infrastructure committee, agreed, calling the derelict bikes "an eyesore."

The city removes abandoned bikes over the course of the year. It got an early start this year, as dozens of bikes were slapped with a notice of removal along areas where leftover bikes have been an historic issue, according to the city.

A total of 813 derelict bikes were removed last year.

To help the process, the city is asking residents and business to call 311 with information about abandoned bikes, including the colour of the bike frame, the type of bike and the location.

Usually an abandoned bicycle has missing or damaged parts, flat or missing tires, and is in unusable condition. If the bike has been locked to the same location for more than a month, it is likely abandoned and should be removed, says the city.

Bikes that are clearly derelict — rusted over, for instance — will be removed immediately. The city places notices on the bikes for which it is not clear if they are abandoned. After two weeks, the tagged bikes will be removed if they remain parked in the same spot.