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Old 05-20-07, 05:44 PM   #1
jimmibudd
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abandoned bicycle etiquette "rescue" vs. "stealing"

hey folks.....

ehtical dilemma...
at my bro's apartment complex there are several bike stands... at one of the stands is an older cruiser style bike, a CCM Rambler 500, in one of the racks....
it is sitting in the stand with no lock whatsoever... around the wheels is apile of leaves and dirt... the back tire is flat and the front tire cracked and bald(it may also be flat, i just looked at the bike... didnt touch)... the frame is pretty faded and rusty... chain is loose... it hasn't moved in ages... it would need some new bars, chain, tune up.... but it could be a beauty, eh...

it is in ruff shape, BUT.... it has potential... we'd like to rescue it, but didnt know what we should do....
should we:
- just F'n grab it, strip it, fixit, etc....
- leave a note or something attached to it?
- put a lock on it and see what happens?... see if it gets cut.... no sense in someone else getting it, right?
- other: please explain...

anyways, has anyone else had the same dilemma? should i get it....? what would you do?

J
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Old 05-20-07, 07:12 PM   #2
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Moral Delemma????

It is only a moral delemma or ethical delemma if you have no moral compass. Have you asked around to see if anyone knows the owner? If you find the owner offer to fix it up for them or offer to buy it. Come on - think of the other person instead of your own selfish desire to have what does not belong to you. Put yourself in the owners position (which you obviously don't know now) and for some reason you had left your bike out like this one and became somehow unable to give the bike the attention it needed and some jerk came along and thought his desire for your bike was more important than your situation as the bike owner. Do what is right! If everyone did what is right in his own eyes we'd have anarchy. And that's your ethical delemma?
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Old 05-20-07, 07:51 PM   #3
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jim, I understand your delimah, but I agree with wmodavis on this one. It's not yours to take.

This semester, I walked past this bike on the ground the whole semester. It had leaves around it and all kinds of stuff. It was locked up on the rack, but on the ground with it's kickstand helplessly stuck in the air. This week, I was on campus and the bike was gone. Now, I don't know if the university staff cut the chain and took the bike, or what...

My suggestion would be to ask the maintanence personel at the complex and see if they can clue you in to who's bike it is. I would put a chain on it just to keep someone else from getting it. In all possibility, it's a bike someone had who no longer lives there and forgot about it.

How many apartments are we talking about? Is door to door too much to ask for this bike?
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Old 05-20-07, 08:07 PM   #4
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I am going to play devil's advocate... swipe it and fix it up. If the bike is in as bad of condition as you say with with no lock with leaves all around it... sounds abandoned to me. If you don't take it, it will likely be landfill in the near future.
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Old 05-20-07, 09:07 PM   #5
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I am going to play devil's advocate... swipe it and fix it up. If the bike is in as bad of condition as you say with with no lock with leaves all around it... sounds abandoned to me. If you don't take it, it will likely be landfill in the near future.
I agree.
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Old 05-20-07, 10:36 PM   #6
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If you know the bike hasn't moved in a very long time and you have made a fair attempt to find or notify the owner, then I say go for it. I watched a stripped frame laying at a train stop for over a year before I rescued it.
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Old 05-21-07, 12:26 AM   #7
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There was a bike on campus that I saw rusting and delapitated as soon as I moved in. A year later it was still there, missing even more parts. The only things left on the frame were the derailers (Acera), brakes (V-Brake), and the shifters/brake levers. So I just took them. I wouldn't have taken them the day I moved in, but it was clear enough to me that it was truly abandoned by the middle of summer.
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Old 05-21-07, 01:01 AM   #8
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Wow! There are several with the same moral compass with no needle. Hope you all have trouble living with yourselves. Obviously you won't have to live with your conciences cuz you have none. And stay away from my bikes! Why not ride your own bike instead of stealing someone elses?
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Old 05-21-07, 02:01 AM   #9
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If it has no lock then take it to the Police and tell them you found it. In a couple of months, if no one picks it up, they will send you a postcard telling you to come pick it up. Then it is yours. If you just take it then it is hard to say that it is not being stolen.
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Old 05-21-07, 05:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmodavis
Wow! There are several with the same moral compass with no needle. Hope you all have trouble living with yourselves. Obviously you won't have to live with your conciences cuz you have none. And stay away from my bikes! Why not ride your own bike instead of stealing someone elses?
Be very careful with what you say. Have you never claimed anything that you found laying and presumably abandoned on the street? Did you take any great measures to establish true ownership of that pair of gloves dropped on the sidewalk? If we whom you accuse had no moral compass we would say grab anything you see whenever you want. Nobody has said that and I don't recall that seriously ever being the case in any previous discussions on this subject. From what I have gathered in the past, even six months is too soon for most of us thieving anarchists to liberate that stripped and weathered beater from a snowbank. In the two instances where I have taken a frame, I left notes on the bike with contact information for many months before I felt comfortable in doing what I did.

Last edited by jjvw; 05-21-07 at 06:00 AM.
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Old 05-21-07, 06:36 AM   #11
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On whoever's property the bike rack is on is the one who has the best claim on an abandoned bike.
If you want it, work with the apartment management.
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Old 05-21-07, 07:43 AM   #12
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On whoever's property the bike rack is on is the one who has the best claim on an abandoned bike.
If you want it, work with the apartment management.
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Old 05-21-07, 09:27 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Robert C
If it has no lock then take it to the Police and tell them you found it. In a couple of months, if no one picks it up, they will send you a postcard telling you to come pick it up. Then it is yours. If you just take it then it is hard to say that it is not being stolen.
If it's anything like our local police, abandoned bike is LOW on the priority list:

I had a bike abandoned in our dumpster area at work. It sat there for a few days, and I called the police to do a report or whatever they do on it. The officer came out, looked at the bike, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I donno... You want a bike, there ya go."

Kinda pissed me off a bit, because they're the police and they're supposed to do something about this. If it were my bike that were stolen and abandoned in a dumpster, I wouldn't want the police to just award it to whomever found it. Anyhow, I brought it home and gave it to my neighbor to ride with his kid until the owner came to the store and inquired about the bike. Been a few months now, and no one's been around to try to claim it, so...
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Old 05-21-07, 09:35 AM   #14
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No lock? Take it...
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Old 05-21-07, 09:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wmodavis
Wow! There are several with the same moral compass with no needle. Hope you all have trouble living with yourselves. Obviously you won't have to live with your conciences cuz you have none. And stay away from my bikes! Why not ride your own bike instead of stealing someone elses?
Moral compass? What?? Get over yer self. It's crappy bike, responsibly people don't leave bikes outside. With no lock. For months at a time. This person is either incredible irresponsible or doesn't want the bike. Chances are, its completely abandoned and probably on its way to the land fill sooner or later.
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Old 05-21-07, 10:12 AM   #16
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I think you should just steal the bike and fix it up and give it a better life. Can you imagine what it feels like to be abandoned with nobody to ride you..leaves piling up all around you etc. etc. ??
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Old 05-21-07, 01:16 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by wmodavis
Wow! There are several with the same moral compass with no needle. Hope you all have trouble living with yourselves. Obviously you won't have to live with your conciences cuz you have none. And stay away from my bikes! Why not ride your own bike instead of stealing someone elses?
Hi, I teach ethics at Penn State.
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Old 05-21-07, 02:48 PM   #18
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Hi, I teach ethics at Penn State.
That's truly a pity.
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Old 05-21-07, 02:50 PM   #19
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Interesting post. I've been working at the same place for 2.5 months now and every day the bike rack is used. I'm the last to go home and every day and night, there is this one lone bike just sitting there locked up. In the same exact position day in, day out. I always wonder: 1. How long will it stay there before security figures out no one is using it? 2. What has happened to its owner? Did he die? Did he hate his bike so much that he left it locked up as a joke for security? It's not a named brand bike, but still. Where did the owner go?
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Old 05-21-07, 03:47 PM   #20
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The rusty bike has a story. Asking the maintenance people about it is a good place to start. The story could go one of two ways. Someone moved out of the apartments and left it behind because he did not have space or thought himself in a hurry. Or, it belongs to someone who has just never gotten around to making the bike ready to ride again. I would bet on the first scenario. The maintenance people may be only too happy for you to take it. It would be good to get the story. With it may come an encouragement to take the bike, or not.

I remember a TV program on antique tractors. A man had left his tractor on another person's property and said he would return for it one day. But, he never did, not even after several decades. Someone else bought the tractor years later from the property owner.
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Old 05-21-07, 04:57 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmibudd
hey folks.....

ehtical dilemma...
at my bro's apartment complex there are several bike stands... at one of the stands is an older cruiser style bike, a CCM Rambler 500, in one of the racks....
it is sitting in the stand with no lock whatsoever... around the wheels is apile of leaves and dirt... the back tire is flat and the front tire cracked and bald(it may also be flat, i just looked at the bike... didnt touch)... the frame is pretty faded and rusty... chain is loose... it hasn't moved in ages... it would need some new bars, chain, tune up.... but it could be a beauty, eh...

it is in ruff shape, BUT.... it has potential... we'd like to rescue it, but didnt know what we should do....
should we:
- just F'n grab it, strip it, fixit, etc....
- leave a note or something attached to it?
- put a lock on it and see what happens?... see if it gets cut.... no sense in someone else getting it, right?
- other: please explain...

anyways, has anyone else had the same dilemma? should i get it....? what would you do?

J
  • Do no wrong. If it feels wrong, don't do it. If it doesn't feel quite right, don't do it. As far as I can tell, it doesn't feel quite right to you, or you wouldn't be having doubts and qualms about it. Doubts and qualms are indicators....
  • If you take something like that, and it doesn't seem quite right to you, that quality of doubtfulness becomes attached to the bike. The bike won't quite feel 'clean' -- not a good atmosphere for a bike. Better to have a bike that does feel clean to you.
  • There are things you can do: check with the police, check with the manager of the property, try to find owner, etc. -- if done right, it will feel right.
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Old 05-21-07, 06:07 PM   #22
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There was a black mountain bike parked on Michigan and Cass in downtown Milwaukee for more than a year. It is in a very very high traffic area and it sat there chained up to a steel loop on the corner. A popular online Milwaukee site did a feature on it and the bike was gone a week later. I wonder if the police took it away or someone cut the chain and took it home to restore it. It makes me wonder.
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Old 05-22-07, 11:50 AM   #23
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Do what you want with it and don't tell us.
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Old 05-22-07, 01:08 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Conveyor Belt
I had a bike abandoned in our dumpster area at work. It sat there for a few days, and I called the police to do a report or whatever they do on it. The officer came out, looked at the bike, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I donno... You want a bike, there ya go."
There ya go! Moral compass fixed!
Be sure to get the officers name & badge #!
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Old 05-22-07, 01:13 PM   #25
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On a similar note, I used to attend the local Jr. College and rode my bike every day. I didn't like having to lug around aheavy lock, so I left the lock locked to the rack.
That was in the early '80's.
I went by there a year or two ago. The lock was still there!



Now, if I could only find the key!
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