- Associated Press - Monday, April 9, 2018

SEATTLE (AP) - 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 tax-payer 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.

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