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Non-used bikes chained up to racks...how long before you assume they are abandoned?

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Non-used bikes chained up to racks...how long before you assume they are abandoned?

Old 08-07-10, 05:55 AM
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ron521
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Non-used bikes chained up to racks...how long before you assume they are abandoned?

When I used to ride along the Prarie Path west of Chicago, out through the towns of Elmhurts, Glen Ellen, and Wheaton, I often saw many bicycles in the racks near the trail.

Some bikes were used by commuters, and are obviously used regularly, as their location on the racks change frequently.
Other bikes have never been observed to have changed position since the first time I noticed them. Have seen Wal Mart bikes, Raleigh DL1, Fuji 10 speeds, and many, many others, completely immobile, for indefinitely long periods of time.

If you saw a bike that was just chained up...how long before you assumed it had been abandoned? Months? Years? Until parts began to vanish? Never?
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Old 08-07-10, 06:03 AM
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Interesting question! I reckon 6 mths. I guess the local council or whatever you call it, technically 'owns' them if they are abandoned. Fuji 10 speed sounds good.
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Old 08-07-10, 06:16 AM
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Just a friendly reminder, if you take something that you know doesn't belong to you, it is considered theft. No matter how much you think you want it.
How would you get it anyway, cut a cable/lock?
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Old 08-07-10, 06:21 AM
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A lame excuse for stealing....
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Old 08-07-10, 06:37 AM
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There's no theft in taking abandoned property. Problem is - when is property abandoned? Which takes us back to the OP...
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Old 08-07-10, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by whatsmyname View Post
There's no theft in taking abandoned property. Problem is - when is property abandoned? Which takes us back to the OP...
No, it takes you to federal, state, and local law. Our opinions do not count here. The applicable laws will define when and under what circumstances property becomes "abandoned", if ever. The law will also define how abandoned property can be disposed of and by whom. If the laws where you live specify that abandoned property becomes village, county, or state property then it is still theft if a private individual decides he really needs that abandoned Fuji. You'd better consult a lawyer before you take a bike that appears to be abandoned. I don't condone taking someone else's bike under any circumstances but if the law condones it then you can do it. If you really want to sink to that level.

Ken
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Old 08-07-10, 07:17 AM
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To keep the discussion in perspective, I didn't raise the question of "taking" any of these bikes. The question stated was how long before YOU would assume the owner is not coming back for them. Nothing more. The question has absolutely nothing to do with local laws, which might vary from one village to the next.
If you read more into the question than that, shame on you. For all I know, those bikes, and probably others, are still there.
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Old 08-07-10, 07:20 AM
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How can you be sure they're abandoned instead of the owner snagging the same spot every day?

I wouldn't think about calling a bike "abandoned" until it's been sitting there with flat, cracking tires, a tacoed rim, and a broken chain.
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Old 08-07-10, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by khutch View Post
No, it takes you to federal, state, and local law. Our opinions do not count here.
Keep your hair on, Wilbur, and tone down the self-righteousness. I'm not advocating anyone breaks out the boltcutters and neither is the OP. Funnily enough, property and theft laws are mostly common law. What constitutes abandoned property does often end up being a question of opinion/context/arbitrary factors and not spelled out by statute.
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Old 08-07-10, 07:40 AM
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There is a Blazer in a local parking garage that has a plate that expired in 6/08. I mentioned smething to the security guy in passing and we talked a little. The owner had been notified but chose not to do anything. In order for the garage to move it they need to own it as the owner has stated it was in excellent shpe when he left it there. The vehicle is not worth them seeking the title to it so it becomes a waiting game. Their lwayer is trying to push the idea that is has been dumped there like an old refrigerator over the hill or ......a bicycle left in a rack???
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Old 08-07-10, 09:01 AM
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If the Authority that removes them , like Campus Police, benefits directly
from auctioning them off,
you will find the impound interval is shorter.
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Old 08-07-10, 09:04 AM
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Every six months, someone asks this on BF. Let me assign you some readings: "abandoned bikes"
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Old 08-07-10, 09:15 AM
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I work in a parking garage and we get abandoned bikes all the time we wait 90 days untill we remove them, then we call in the numbers to the police if no hits we wait another month or two, after that they are fair game, ive gotten two bmx's from that they probably are stolen but with no way to locate the owner why let them go to waste
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Old 08-07-10, 10:18 AM
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Kind of off topic, but one time I found a pile of bikes (and a motorcycle) in the woods behind my house.
I have no doubt that they were stolen and dumped there, but meh; they looked like they'd been there awhile.
I need to go back down there and see what's still there.
I was down there a bit yesterday and snatched a pair of drop handlebars off a frame with a tacoed pedal gear that I couldn't pull out from under a big log.
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Old 08-07-10, 10:30 AM
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Bikes end up in trees by my house, or dumpsters close-by, so here's what I do: If dumpster, I take it quickly b/c it's obviously trash, and then keep it for a couple months if it was in good shape to see if anybody says it's stolen or whatever. return if it is.

if it's in bushes or woods or something, I leave it for 2-ish weeks, then take it home. I post a craigslist ad saying I found it. If it is stolen, then the people just got a bike with a free tune-up from me. I wait a couple months, then I'll do what I want with the bike.
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Old 08-07-10, 10:48 AM
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There are two questions here I'll address.

The OP asked -- apparently innocently enough -- how long would I wait before I assumed something had been abandoned? I would assume that a bike that had been chained to rack for 30 days and not moved likely had been abandoned. On the other hand, when I see a bike dumped in the bushes along the nature trail near by house, or in the bushes by a bike trail, I assume it's stolen.

The second question: what do you do?

- If I see an abandoned bike in a rack that has plenty of spaces in it, I don't do anything. It's not my bike.

- If I see an abandoned bike in a rack that is crowded, meaning the rest of us need the space, I contact building or property management to see about getting it moved.

- If I see a bike I think is stolen, I call the police.

Originally Posted by nahh View Post
Bikes end up in trees by my house, or dumpsters close-by, so here's what I do: If dumpster, I take it quickly b/c it's obviously trash, and then keep it for a couple months if it was in good shape to see if anybody says it's stolen or whatever. return if it is.

if it's in bushes or woods or something, I leave it for 2-ish weeks, then take it home. I post a craigslist ad saying I found it. If it is stolen, then the people just got a bike with a free tune-up from me. I wait a couple months, then I'll do what I want with the bike.
More than likely, you're breaking the law.
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Old 08-07-10, 11:03 AM
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Ehh, even though I'm about 100% sure the bikes in the woods behind my house are stolen, calling the cops isn't going to do anything.
Do you honestly think they care about some beat up old bikes down in the woods?
I'd even bet the cops wouldn't step one foot into the woods just to look.
They've really got more important things to do than worry about a bike someone found in the woods.
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Old 08-07-10, 11:05 AM
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On top of that unless they can prove that they are stolen they wont pick them up or let you drop them off, at least where i live
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Old 08-07-10, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by CosmonautJordon View Post
Ehh, even though I'm about 100% sure the bikes in the woods behind my house are stolen, calling the cops isn't going to do anything.
Do you honestly think they care about some beat up old bikes down in the woods?
I'd even bet the cops wouldn't step one foot into the woods just to look.
They've really got more important things to do than worry about a bike someone found in the woods.
Why don't you call the cops and ask them, though?

At the very least, you'll know what they do in your town. Second, you'll have a record that you tried to report them as stolen.

In any case, in my town, they come collect the bikes.
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Old 08-07-10, 11:20 AM
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in Downtown State College PA, there are signs on all the bike racks that give the time limit for parking there. I assume after that time they can take the bike to the police station, but I suspect the signs have the desired effect of keeping people from parking there long-term. On the Penn State campus, they round up bikes once a year through a fairly careful process. I wish they could do something about the abandoned bikes more often than that because there are a lot of them on campus and parking is scarce.
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Old 08-07-10, 03:28 PM
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You really can't assume a bike has been abandoned. Probably contact the owner of the property where the bike is. In the OP's case you would contact the city.

I see bikes all the time on my campus. Last year their was a nice Specialized Hard rock. The tires were flat, the chain warped and rusted, and a bunch of cables non operational. I believe after 6 -8 months campus police put an orange sticker on it (probably because they were removing the rack). About 2 months later the bike and rack were gone.

Our campus built two new racks with a see through covering and side (sort of like half a greenhouse). So far there are 3 bikes that have not moved since May. I guess we'll wait and see what happens when school starts back up again and people need a place for their bike.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:29 PM
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In Honolulu there was this guy who tried to sell advertising by locking bicycles to the city bike racks all over town with signs attached to the bicycles. He was able to do this because there was nothing in the ordinance that prevented you from locking a bicycle to a bike rack indefinitely. The bikes are no longer there but it was very controversial at the time. I think it failed because no one wanted to advertise there because of the controversy.
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Old 08-07-10, 05:30 PM
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Why would somebody abandon a perfectly good bicycle ?? If they decide to abandon it, then what's the point of locking it ?
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Old 08-07-10, 05:48 PM
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I see all sorts of bikes with flat, cracked tires and bent rims locked up around NYC. Some of them look like decent frames, but I don't really want to get into the mindset of debating whether they are abandoned or not. Sometimes I do wish their were some way of finding the owner and asking; it always seems like a shame to leave a perfectly good bike out to fall apart. I've watched some of them, every once in a while you notice that a part has gone missing or a bit more damage has been done. It is obvious that no one cares for some of them.
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Old 08-07-10, 06:00 PM
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If you wait too long, some else gets 'em. More than a few hours and it seems like they're gone....
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