Irresponsible Burning Man attendees left nearly 5,000 bikes, covered in playa dust

burning man bikes
photo by Logan Mirto

Burning Man cyclists are under heavy fire after this year’s gathering in Black Rock City. An Instagram photo showing a sea of dusty bikes abandoned on the playa was widely shared on social networks.

The haunting photo by Logan Mirto shows this year’s attendees leaving a significant trace- thousands of discarded bikes (nearly 5,000 strong according to some accounts), covered in playa dust, piled on top of each other.

Even it’s an alarming sight, most people may be surprised to learn it’s fairly common after the festival.

“This year it seems like a bit more,” Aric Shapiro, Director of Development for The Generator in Sparks, said.

“It seems like there’s around 4,000 bikes out there. I think what happens is people fly in, so it’s easier to buy a bike at Walmart and leave it out there, which is such a shame because it’s suppose to be a leave-no-trace event” he added.

However, the image still has people upset, including those involved with Burning Man. “Participants should be responsible for their own property,” Shapiro said. “Anything you bring to Black Rock City or the playa, you gotta take it back with you.”

“If you left your bike @ Burning Man…. you are a {insert foul name here}!! Come on folks, we can do better!” wrote Jeffrey Pankey on Facebook.

Jeffrey Pankey’s Faceboook post got plenty of attention. Trucks began coming in from Reno to collect the abandoned bicycles .

“FOLLOWUP TO YESTERDAYS BIKE POST!! HOLY SHIT! After 850+ shares, Reno showed its true spirit. ALL DAY LONG A SEA OF TRUCK AND TRAILERS. THE BIKES ARE ALMOST GONE!! Amazing the power of the internet. And the trucks are still coming up 447. Thank you Reno. Please share our thanks.”