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Old 08-23-14, 07:18 AM   #1
Dave Horne
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moral dilemma ... or not?

The major city next to us, 's-Hertogenbosch, has the carnival in its center this week; the city is busier than normal. My wife and I biked to the center to do some shopping today and we parked our bikes in a busy area but in a quiet part of that busy area.

As I go to park my bike I see a bike next to me that is chained to a tree but still has the keys in the ring lock. Having used a ring lock for 20 years, that's most unusual. Typically you would keep all your bike keys on the same key ring. If you used a second lock you'd have to first close the ring lock. This was a very new bike and was very attractive to boot.

What would you do?

I removed the keys from the ring lock and gave them to one of the carnival guys who was very close to where the bike was parked. This was an older gentleman and seemed trustworthy to me. At any rate, I explained to him the situation and asked if he would keep an eye out for the owner of that bike.

That to me seemed a better thing to do than doing nothing. My wife and I had a cup of coffee in a nearby book store and went back to our bikes about 20 minutes later. The bike in question had been claimed and I spoke with the guy from the carnival who explained what the owner had done.

Assuming my character assessment was accurate, this to me seemed like the best thing to do at the time.

I should add that twice on various vacations I inadvertently left my keys in the ring lock and both times the bike was exactly where I left it. Once was Prague on a very busy street and the other was in England in a touristy area directly in front of a store.

Last edited by Dave Horne; 08-23-14 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 08-23-14, 08:50 AM   #2
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If it was in my city I'd assume the police had set up a 'sting' operation to catch bike thieves and I'd simply walk away from it. It just sounds too obvious to be just an oversight by the bike owner, especially with a carnival and its associated crowds (and possible petty thieves) nearby.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:32 AM   #3
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My Ring Lock key is Alone on an elastic Loop of elastic cord , when I pop into a shop I can close the hasp over the wheel and remove the key,
but have it still attached by the cord to the rack strut .. just laid over the other side to not be in the lock.. (ring locks are uncommon here)

any longer excursion there is a cord lock on the elastic cord to secure it to my wrist..

Once I dropped it in the Local Safeway store on the floor, someone found it and I recovered it from the courtesy desk/cigarette sales counter .

another solution .. there are elastic coil arm bands .. bartender has the key to the Register Till on it ..
and puts it around their arm any time not behind the Bar. ... smoking zone is out side, on the sidewalk, now.


I'd kick the keys when pedaling the bike .. when I got the bike, the past owner had bent the key over ,**
perhaps they had more keys on a ring then, too ..

thats why I gave it its separate loop..

**Axa did post me a new matching Key from the serial number

BTW Dave , seems Dutch Carneys are less Migratory and transient than those traveling around the US.
more like an amusement park in the summer , though they may knock it down and put it in storage for the winter ..
so the hires are probably with less of a police record..

This is State Fair / harvest Month so this is the business season for most Itinerant Carneys , Now.

Last edited by fietsbob; 08-23-14 at 09:43 AM.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:52 AM   #4
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I don't think there is any moral issue here at all...you're intentions were obviously good. Whether it was the best course of action...eh, you can argue that either way, forever. You tried to help and took action. I think it was fine.
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Old 08-23-14, 10:09 AM   #5
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Giving this more thought, the best plan of action would been to take the keys and leave a note on the bike with a phone number. I could still be duped but I would ask the person to state how many keys are on the key ring to invoke some kind of filter. (The carnival guy by the way was an older man in a booth collecting money for a carousel for very small children. He was well spoken, well dressed, looked intelligent and self aware.)

The moral issue is this - do you do something, something that is well intentioned but perhaps not the best plan, or do you do nothing? My wife almost insisted that I do nothing which seemed wrong to me. She assumed that the bike would go unnoticed and the owner would still find his bike where he left it.

I live in Vught which is next door to 's-Hertogenbosch. The police in Vught recently conducted a sting operation to nail bike thieves. They placed a new bike is a very visible location and left it there. They also mounted a GPS tracker on it and found it back along with the thief. Since there are so many bikes here, there are more bikes than people, bike theft is a big problem.

Last edited by Dave Horne; 08-23-14 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 08-23-14, 10:17 AM   #6
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[snip]
The moral issue is this - do you do something, something that is well intentioned but perhaps not best plan, or do you do nothing? My wife almost insisted that I do nothing which seemed wrong to me. She assumed that the bike would go unnoticed and the owner would still find his bike where he left it.
[snip]
Did you consider that there may have been a good reason the keys were left there even if you didn't understand the reason?
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Old 08-23-14, 10:46 AM   #7
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I think I should do nothing in that situation.

In the USA, it would be poor judgment to draw attention to the unlocked bike, particularly with carnival workers. Your carnivals might be different, but aside from that there is nothing illegal nor particularly disruptive about leaving your property unlocked. If it was my property I'd rather people just left it alone, so I'd extend that courtesy to others.

If I really wanted to prevent a possible theft, I would remove the key placing it inconspicuously on the bike or nearby, remain with the bike and keep careful watch over it, supplying the key if someone appeared concerned on finding it missing. Even then there is no assurance that you'd find the rightful owner, or that he'd appreciate the effort if you did.

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Old 08-23-14, 10:53 AM   #8
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Did you consider that there may have been a good reason the keys were left there even if you didn't understand the reason?
In a busy city center in the Netherlands there's no good reason to leave keys in a lock, you're inviting someone to steal your bike or at the very least, take your keys.
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Old 08-23-14, 10:57 AM   #9
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In a busy city center in the Netherlands there's no good reason to leave keys in a lock, you're inviting someone to steal your bike or at the very least, take your keys.
Maybe the owner felt the theft risk was low and was leaving the bike for someone else to ride to some other location and left the keys so the bike could be locked there. I have done this myself.

A well-to-do'er could really disrupt this plan.

Not saying this was necessarily the idea, but it's worth considering.
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Old 08-23-14, 11:22 AM   #10
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In a busy city center in the Netherlands there's no good reason to leave keys in a lock, you're inviting someone to steal your bike or at the very least, take your keys.
Also, it was technically you who stole the keys in your attempt to prevent others from doing the same. Consider that too.
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Old 08-23-14, 11:35 AM   #11
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Agreed, Ideally a note left on the bike would be best... "you left the key in the lock, I fixed it for you , key safely in custody of [X]"
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Old 08-23-14, 12:22 PM   #12
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FWIW, Ulocks have BIC pens, Ring locks have nail files.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4p4uEQA4PI
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Old 08-23-14, 01:25 PM   #13
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YGWYPF, remains..
Pay More than the lower end, like shown, and the Axa Defender has a more sophisticated Lock cylinder mech in it.

try that one (if its your video expose production, and just not something you found)

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Old 08-23-14, 01:38 PM   #14
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I'd never heard of a ring lock. The video turned up in a Google search. Figured I'd pass it along.
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Old 08-23-14, 01:53 PM   #15
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I'd never heard of a ring lock. The video turned up in a Google search. Figured I'd pass it along.
In the Netherlands it's a requirement of the insurance company that you have a proscribed ring lock. That's the absolute minimal security level needed for insurance coverage. I use an additional Abus U lock on occasion.

The individual who forgot to remove his keys from the ring lock, forgot to remove his keys, period. I've done the same exact thing on several occasions, usually when the routine of locking up my bike is interrupted.

If you live in a small village and you bike to the local gas station to buy your cigarettes, you might pop in and out without locking your bike. In a major Dutch city, you would never do that. If your bike were new as this bike was, you most certainly would not leave your bike unlocked and unattended as you would invalidate your insurance coverage if the bike were stolen.

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Old 08-23-14, 01:58 PM   #16
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FWIW, Ulocks have BIC pens, Ring locks have nail files.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4p4uEQA4PI
I've seen that video. I believe that was the Axa 7. The Axa Defender is improved.
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Old 08-23-14, 02:07 PM   #17
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I think I should do nothing in that situation.

.... If it was my property I'd rather people just left it alone, so I'd extend that courtesy to others.
I had a discussion with my wife about this. The bottom line for me was this, if the situation were reversed, I'd want someone to do exactly what I did, take my keys to prevent someone from stealing my bike and my keys.
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Old 08-23-14, 02:25 PM   #18
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I believe that was the Axa 7.
historically not familiar with all prior models ..

My Koga WTR From 04 came with an SL7 it still had a pin catch on the side opposite of the lock cylinder .
that being Black its hard to see if there was one ..

the plug in chain pin type not available for the SL7 over here in 08, was larger for the Defender so I got Both..
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Old 08-23-14, 07:40 PM   #19
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Personally I think you did the right thing. Hard to claim insurance without that second key, from what I gather.

I use the ring locks and also use the plastic coil wrist band as a key ring just for the bike lock. Love the fact that the key has to stay in the lock to keep it open. I can't count the number of times that I have ridden somewhere and did not have keys to my U-lock or cable lock. Discovered the AXA Defenders a few years ago and have been using them on several of my bikes every since. BTW I am US based.

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Old 08-23-14, 09:13 PM   #20
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The individual who forgot to remove his keys from the ring lock, forgot to remove his keys, period. I've done the same exact thing on several occasions, usually when the routine of locking up my bike is interrupted.
The key for the ring locks on my German bikes pop out of the key hole as soon as the lock is engaged. There is no way to lock them and leave the key in the lock.
Also the ring lock key always remains in the lock until the ring lock is engaged, so I don't understand your statement of keeping keys for different bikes on the same key ring. Each bikes has its own key which is always with that bike in the lock until the ring lock is used for locking the bike.
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Old 08-23-14, 09:30 PM   #21
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The key for the ring locks on my German bikes pop out of the key hole as soon as the lock is engaged. There is no way to lock them and leave the key in the lock.
Also the ring lock key always remains in the lock until the ring lock is engaged, so I don't understand your statement of keeping keys for different bikes on the same key ring.
You don't understand because you fail to read what others write. Dave said nothing about having keys for "different bikes" on the same key ring as the ring-lock key. He did mention having multiple bike keys (all for the same bike) together with the ring-lock key. So an individual might have a ring-lock (for locking the rear wheel to the bike), and a U-lock (locks the bike frame to a rack), and a cable lock (locks the front wheel, saddle, etc. to the bike frame). If the keys for all three are hanging on the same key chain then the person first needs to lock the ring-lock to remove the key chain, lock the additional locks for more security, and then take the set of keys with him.
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Old 08-23-14, 10:25 PM   #22
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You don't understand because you fail to read what others write. Dave said nothing about having keys for "different bikes" on the same key ring as the ring-lock key. He did mention having multiple bike keys (all for the same bike) together with the ring-lock key. So an individual might have a ring-lock (for locking the rear wheel to the bike), and a U-lock (locks the bike frame to a rack), and a cable lock (locks the front wheel, saddle, etc. to the bike frame). If the keys for all three are hanging on the same key chain then the person first needs to lock the ring-lock to remove the key chain, lock the additional locks for more security, and then take the set of keys with him.
If that is what the OP meant, then the situation that he saw was a bicycle that was not locked at all with any of the locks, that he decided for himself should be locked and then pointed out the newly locked bike to a stranger and handed him the keys. A questionable action even if meant in good faith. Would the OP or others lock up any house or car that they found keys nearby and was not locked and then hand the keys to a stranger?
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Old 08-23-14, 10:40 PM   #23
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I'd never heard of a ring lock. The video turned up in a Google search. Figured I'd pass it along.
Simple ring lock that was OEM on my Vaterland bike. The key pops right out when the ring is closed, otherwise it remains in the lock at all times
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Old 08-24-14, 03:45 AM   #24
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Personally I think you did the right thing. Hard to claim insurance without that second key, from what I gather.

It's impossible as far as I know to collect on the insurance without having the two original keys.

Interestingly enough, years ago when the ring lock keys could be easily duplicated by a locksmith, the bike dealers would recommend having a spare made and using the spare to circumvent the insurance. It didn't matter to the dealer if your bike was stolen as it was even more sales for him.

I've taken the key of my ring lock to a locksmith to see if a copy could be made. It seems the only way to have a copy made is to jump through some hoops and order another registered key from the company that makes the ring lock.
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Old 08-24-14, 08:52 AM   #25
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By attempting to help another and prevent his bike from getting stolen, it's unquestionably moral. Whether it was the best or smartest thing to do is a different question.
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