Take a good look at the rack furthest from the bike.
Someone pointed out that this looks like a string of licorice
There's an alley directly across from this...
Aside from the bike racks merely being broken, here's what's wrong with this. First of all, these three racks were all busted within two weeks of each other. Second, in order for any of these to get as busted as they are, a car would need to go full-up onto the sidewalk and hit them. DC regulations require bicycle racks to be placed 2-3 feet from the curb exactly for this reason. We've all had the experience of running car wheels over a curb on an especially tight turn, but this is just BAD driving. There is absolutely no reason at all why anyone who is driving sober should have their car that far into the travel lane intended ONLY for pedestrians and, occasionally, bicycles.
For the first (on 11th and U), I have absolutely no idea what happened, but the vinyl coating on the rack was torn and bunched up towards the bottom.
For the second (24th and L, outside District Hardware), that's a rack sitting in 10 inches of concrete in a brick sidewalk, so it's wedged in there pretty firmly. In order for a car to exert that much force on it, it had to be moving at a good clip. I talked to the folks in District Hardware, and they mentioned that some guy was teaching his girlfriend how to drive, and she somehow got the car up on the sidewalk and drove halfway down the block that way.
For the third (14th and Q, outside the Bike Rack), there's an alley directly across from that rack. I'm guessing a truck was trying to back out. That being said, there's a parking space right next to this rack, and since it looks like it was hit straight on, that means whatever it was backed directly into it. This means that there was no car parked there at the time, which means the vehicle had the ENTIRE STREET to back out of the alley, so how the hell the driver wound up knocking over the bike rack, I haven't a clue.
I passed yet another bent rack downtown today, but I forgot to snap a picture. It was one of those radiator style racks, so unfortunately, I won't be able to replace it. Since August, there have also been struck racks at 25th and N, on Thomas Jefferson Street in Georgetown, and along Georgia Avenue near the Petworth Metro stop.
The nonchalance with which these racks are struck annoys me because 1) what if a pedestrian had been standing there instead of a bike rack? and 2) because I have to go in and fix them. I realize that this is part of my job, but making up for other peoples' intense stupidity makes me unhappy. It's at least twice as hard to remove and reinstall a rack as it is to simply install a new one. Particularly for situations like the second one--that's going to require a good 45 minutes or more of chiseling to simply get that thing out of the ground. In the meantime, that's one less bike rack for people to use.
I guess the point of this post is that if you drive in the city, CHECK YOUR MIRRORS and DON'T DRIVE LIKE AN IDIOT. Otherwise things like this happen: