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Old 04-03-07, 08:57 AM   #1
cmdr
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Bicycle Liberation

Okay, I have an ethics question to pose to you folks.

My girlfriend's downstairs neighbor has a Trek mountain bike frame and wheels sitting in the yard accruing rust on it's components. It has been there for as long as she has lived there.
I have tried to ask him about it, but he actively avoids talking to us. (argument about him neglecting his dog.)
I'm sure that you can figure out what my quandry is.

Is it bicycle liberation, or is it just theft?

I would offer him money for it if he would just answer the door.
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Old 04-03-07, 09:03 AM   #2
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Seeing as how you are not on good terms with him, it would be theft with police involvment, count on it!
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Old 04-03-07, 09:05 AM   #3
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Theft
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Old 04-03-07, 09:06 AM   #4
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Theft and a further inflaming of a bad neighbor situation. I would stay away, as much as it pains you to watch a perfectly good bike rot into the ground. Imagine the joy he will get when he sees you with it and reports you to the police for theft. Never underestimate people's abilty to hold a grudge and exact some stupid form of revenge.There are a lot of jerks in the world.
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Old 04-03-07, 09:11 AM   #5
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This was my thought as well. But it is hard to see it just rotting there. Thanks, I needed some moral bolstering.
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Old 04-03-07, 10:09 AM   #6
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Does she have a landlord she can complain to? As in, "Can you get the guy downstairs to get that junk out of the front yard"? Try to catch him when he moves the bike, offer him some cash.

Might work. Might not.

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Old 04-03-07, 10:13 AM   #7
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I believe the authorities call this "probable cause for locking you up with an assortment of junkies and winos." Heck, it might even earn you a free trip to Guantanamo if your neighbor is particularly crafty!

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Old 04-03-07, 10:14 AM   #8
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Sounds like he is a bit of an arse, so I'd just avoid dealing with him if at all possible.
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Old 04-03-07, 10:14 AM   #9
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Tape a $20 bill with a stickie note on it on the inside of his screen door asking him to see you about the bike, hinting at the possibility of more pictures of dead presidents if you think it's worth it.

What's the most you're out... $20 if he's a real jerk and just pockets the bill.
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Old 04-03-07, 11:38 AM   #10
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I actually think that this sort of thing is okay, but I wouldn't do it in this case because he's sure to see you with it at one point. In my opinion no one has the right to waste something just because they own it...if someone puts a bike out in the trash you'd have no problem taking it, but if it's been in their yard for 2 years rusting without having been ridden once, why is that not fair game? If you think it's still worth something in the state it's in, leave some cash. Just don't get caught, and in this particular case that probably means not taking the bike when you live right next to them.
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Old 04-03-07, 12:02 PM   #11
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I don't live next to him (my g-friend does). He would never see me with it.
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Old 04-03-07, 12:15 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by braingel
...no one has the right to waste something just because they own it......
Yes, they do. And taking something without permission that someone else owns is theft. Period. No matter how righteous your cause seems to be.

No one has the right to appropriate the property of others because they think they know best how to utilize it.

Moreover, we're talking about an old and rusty Trek mtb frame and wheels. Hell, you can pick up a complete Antelope for $20 just about anywhere. Is it really worth stealing, AND aggravating an already strained neighbor relation?
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Old 04-03-07, 12:59 PM   #13
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Instead of taping $20's to his door you could buy a cheap plastic sheet or cover and put it over the bike for him.

But he's not going to like you anyway.
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Old 04-03-07, 01:21 PM   #14
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Do you have any friends that he hasn't met? If so get one of them to stop by and talk to him about it.
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Old 04-03-07, 01:24 PM   #15
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Do you have any friends that he hasn't met? If so get one of them to stop by and talk to him about it.
+1. This seemed the obvious course of action from the outset.
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Old 04-03-07, 01:39 PM   #16
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All this feedback has been what I would expect. It is all good advice.
I would like to bring to the table now "abandoned" bikes and the concept of bicycle liberation.

You have all seen those bikes; chained for weeks or months to a parking meter or signpost. Eventually pieces of them disappear in the night. Until, one day they are but bared skeletons with fading paint.

At what point do you start considering bringing your tools along with you on your nightly sojourn? Do you watch passively as it is stripped?.. maybe gently shaking your head.

I like this debate on property. I understand that at some point it will become inappropriate for this forum and should be bumped maybe to the politics forum?. Until then, I prefer chewing through it here.
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Old 04-03-07, 02:08 PM   #17
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I share the opinion of Eric Schlosser in his book "Reefer Madness" where he proposes we should minimize the number of laws, and ensure they are strongly enforced.

Theft is one of those laws I think should be retained, and strongly enforced.

While I appreciate the motives reflected in this thread, it is the exceptions that make laws complicated. Making exceptions is the slippery slope to strangeness I don't think we as a society need to spend our time dealing with.

Let me make my point with some terrible examples.

Using the original post as an example. The bike is unused and rusting...

If we make an exception for amount of time, how do we prove that it wasn't used at least once in the time frame... And if the person is in a coma, and awakens, why should they not have their bike when they awaken just because they were out of it for too long?

If we make an exception for wasting something... I have to agree with an earlier poster that there is not, and should not be, a precedent for requiring adequate usage of something. Otherwise museums wouldn't exist, wasting perfectly good items (some bicycles) that would be put to better use. Lance's bike in the Smithsonian would undoubtedly get more use if I owned it (does anyone know what size, it looked about right for me).

If we make an exception for eyesores, then we once again have the government (or individuals?) determining what others should do with their stuff. Some things people do intentionally in the name of art, I find ugly, but they do have the right to assault my senses as much as I have the right to move on. I have seen rusty bikes as art (it seems I recently saw a thread here about bicycle gardens).

These are just a few examples, but anything that makes it easier for me to control an item that had belonged to someone else, the harder it is for me to hold onto the stuff I have worked hard to buy (or find )

I have no significant issue with the OP's motive to liberate the bike, but I see no way to justify it legally without potentially infringing on my right to control my stuff.
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Old 04-03-07, 02:14 PM   #18
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Get a buddy to go over and say he is with "mumble something that sounds like Salvation Army" collecting donations and ask for the bike.
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Old 04-03-07, 02:19 PM   #19
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I must throw in a real life example here.

About four months ago, someone in another section brought the Registry section a broken box. Why did it get brought to my section? Because it had two full bags of cents in it. There was no address, no identifying mark on the bags.

These things sat in the Registry vault for MONTHS. They could not be tracked, no one ever called and asked, "Have you got our $20 in pennies, because we'd like them back".

We finally decided to send them to the "Dead Letter Office". It cost us FAR more to send them there then it would have cost just to take them home. But the pennies were not ours. No one will ever claim them. But that doesn't justify taking them home.

Near to me, there are two bikes just sitting on the edge of a property. At least one of them is an older ladies model, and I can't figure out what the other is, because things are starting to grow up around both bikes. Every once in a while I think--I should go over there and ask the owner if they'd like to sell those bikes. And one of these days I will .

Are you certain that you can't just have a buddy go over to the owner and ask if he'd like ten bucks?

Little Darwin: I would just like to point out that McDave and I were both contributors to the bicycle gardening thread, but McDave won in a landslide.

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Old 04-03-07, 04:03 PM   #20
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>>> I would offer him money for it if he would just answer the door.

Surely you can catch him outside sometime and yell, "Dude! Would'ya take 5 quid for the frame 'n wheels?". Unless he's Kramer, he leaves the crib occasionally, right?

Oh. . .and yes, it's theft.
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Old 04-03-07, 04:20 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Coyote!
>>> I would offer him money for it if he would just answer the door.

Surely you can catch him outside sometime and yell, "Dude! Would'ya take 5 quid for the frame 'n wheels?". Unless he's Kramer, he leaves the crib occasionally, right?

Oh. . .and yes, it's theft.
Not that he never leaves the house - he's never home. Hence the neglected dog thing. When he is home and I'm there, I knock on the door and he doesn't answer. Oh well, it's not important to me. I just had this thought rolling around in my head and wanted to pick other brains for opinions.

And just for information, I have never "liberated" a bike. I found a gaspipe beater in the garbage once though - That one I "took responsibility" for, then donated to charity.
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Old 04-03-07, 04:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbossman
No one has the right to appropriate the property of others because they think they know best how to utilize it.
Ironic how our law abiding nation (forgive the ethnocentrism) was founded on this very violation.

I say if you can convince the authorities and your neighbors that you have some sort of divine right to the bike, or the action somehow represents manifest destiny, you should go for it.
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Old 04-03-07, 04:37 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JunkYardBike
I say if you can convince the authorities and your neighbors that you have some sort of divine right to the bike, or the action somehow represents manifest destiny, you should go for it.
Let me consult the scripture... Ahh yes, hear it is: The Book of Lance, Chap 7...
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Old 04-03-07, 04:50 PM   #24
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There is a guy in PDX who buys old bikes at garage sales and then locks them up around the neighborhood in highly visible locations, sort of an indy 'watch for bikes' or 'bikes belong' project. Some of them are actually pretty nice bikes, and they sit out in the weather, never get ridden and occassionally get stripped or stolen, but just because they seem lonely out there doesn't mean they aren't serving a purpose.
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Old 04-03-07, 05:13 PM   #25
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Forget about the bike, Itll be nothing but trouble as your already on bad terms with the guy, but dont forget about the poor dog, I for one would kick someones door in to save an animal, law or no law, Ill do time for a helpless animal, no doubt.
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