How long would you folks say a bike could be left out for before it's considered abandoned?
Obviously, the setting matters. If it's a residence or a business, etc, that has a big impact.
Let's assume the bike is not locked.
I wouldn't touch any bikes outside an apartment building no matter how long it had been since they were moved. But if a bike sits out in front of a business for 1 month without having moved an inch, and the business doesn't know who's it is, I consider it abandoned.
Granted it's really up to the property owner's disgression.
86 RockHopper,2008 Specialized Globe. Both upgraded to 9 speeds.
This has nothing to do with mechanics.
The same question has also been posted numerous times in General Cycling and other forums by people looking for moral justification to take a bike that doesn't belong to them.
I saw what looked like an abandoned bike by a delapitated auto-body repair shop. I asked the owner about it and he said it had been there for over a year and it wasn't his. He said if I wanted it, I would be doing him a favor by taking it.
Trek 520, Colnago MasterLight, LeMond Fillmore, Univega Sportour, usually others too
You contact your local P.D. or D.A. and report it as an abandoned bike, just like you're supposed to do if you find a diamond ring on a public beach at a river or lake or in a park. They have procedures in place to hold the item for some length of time, some also include a means to turn the item over to the finder after some length of time. It's the right thing to do, not as fun as "finders keepers", but if it was your bike that someone had taken for a joy ride and dumped in a neighboring city you'd probably like it if a finder turned it in for you to recover. YMMV.