Author Topic: Ethics of abandoned bike?  (Read 7918 times)

sheepstache

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Ethics of abandoned bike?
« on: September 08, 2015, 11:51:26 AM »
There's a bike I've been passing on my walk to work for like a month. It's missing its front and rear wheels. But it has kind of a sweet saddle I think would suit me. Nobody in the stores it's in front of know anything about it. I'm thinking I could take the seat and stick a note in the seat tube, in a ziploc, telling them I have the seat with my contact info. Even though obviously I don't think the owner is coming back. If they did come back I'd feel bad. There aren't any laws saying you can't leave a bike chained up as long as you want to a public bike rack.

There were a lot of complaints a few years ago about the city not removing abandoned bikes. The thing is technically the city doesn't remove bikes because they're abandoned, it takes them because they're junk, just like it would take care of any other garbage on the street. So it's not like there's a reclamation program where this might be re-used by a charity or something, it's just going to get destroyed by the weather. And/but this bike doesn't meet the criteria of "abandonedderelict", which is three of the following:
The appearance is crushed or not usable;
Have parts missing from bicycle other than seat and front wheel;
Have flat tires or missing both tires;
Handlebars and pedals are damaged, or the fork, frame or rims are bent;
75 percent of bicycle is rusted.

It only meets two. Well, I guess I could take a closer look at the condition of the handlebars, pedals, and fork.

How would y'all think about this?
« Last Edit: September 08, 2015, 12:03:27 PM by sheepstache »

I'm a red panda

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2015, 11:58:44 AM »
I wouldn't take it.  Based on how you describe, it was abandoned because someone stole the wheels. I'd feel really awful taking the saddle, even if the bike is now trash.

Especially since you say it does not meet the city requirements of being abandoned.

sol

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2015, 11:59:45 AM »
I have reclaimed several abandoned bikes. I don't see a problem with restoring old bikes if they are going to get ridden, but I'd be less willing to just take parts off to upgrade my own ride while leaving the junk behind.  That's not really helping.

sheepstache

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2015, 12:06:36 PM »
I wouldn't take it.  Based on how you describe, it was abandoned because someone stole the wheels. I'd feel really awful taking the saddle, even if the bike is now trash.

Especially since you say it does not meet the city requirements of being abandoned.

Yeah, that's what I'm assuming is someone saw the wheels had been stolen and left it. Maybe they're coming back to try to salvage it but aren't in a hurry.

Also, thank you, updated the definition, which is for a "derelict" bike, in other words something that isn't a usable bike any more, funny I made the mistake after I just got finished saying the city doesn't collect abandoned bikes.

GuitarStv

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2015, 09:21:29 AM »
If the bike hasn't moved in a month and it has no wheels, I'd consider it fair game.  I'd be more likely to take the whole thing and just recycle the frame as a favour to the nearby businesses and people.

Skalm

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2015, 08:04:41 PM »
I'd take the whole thing, strip the parts you need, and donate the rest of it to a local bike charity if there is one in your city. It's pretty clearly not going to get picked up by the owner.

I reclaimed an abandoned bike that was found in a work truck one morning. I put it in a visible spot near the truck parking spot with a "is this yours? contact here!" and contact info. Nobody contacted for a month so I took it home and fixed it up, the chain was all kinds of borked and the shifter was broken. Haven't heard anything bad about it yet.

Syonyk

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2015, 11:09:26 PM »
<.< I'm still running a rear rack I found abandoned at a friend's apartment complex that sat there for a month or two...

++ to "take the whole thing," though.  Don't leave a bare frame behind, if you're going to scavenge.

You could do what some businesses do and staple a piece of paper around the frame saying, "Is this bike abandoned?  If not, remove this paper."

Dicey

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2015, 11:13:34 PM »
What if you take a picture of the bike and post one or more "Found" signs with photo, in the area you found it? Take the bike home so it doesn't get more damage, but don't do any work to it yet. Give it another 30 days or so and for good measure, post it on CL (omit details that only the owner would know). If nobody claims it, I'd consider it yours.

Eric

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2015, 10:45:50 AM »
How would you go about taking the whole bike?  Just bust out the industrial size tin snips (?) and clip the lock?

GuitarStv

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2015, 11:25:18 AM »
If it's a U-lock, just hit it a few times with a hammer or pry on it hard with a crow bar.  Either way will break the lock after a minute or two.

dennityrrell

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2015, 11:32:17 AM »
Some cyclist register there bikes with the local law enforcement using the unique serial number identifier that is typically located under the bottom bracket on the frame. Record the number and call it in. 

If its not registered and the bike has no wheels + been sitting for 1 month+ I would consider it fair game.
Especially if its a less expensive bike due to the fact that buying new wheels + tires + tubes + cassette + labor is going to cost the owner a lot more money then just buying a brand new bike.

With regards to cutting the lock, if its a braded cable then a pair of medium size bolt/cable cutters will do the trick.
If its a steel U-Lock then I would recommend using a circle grinder to cut it off.

GuitarStv

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2015, 11:38:49 AM »
You absolutely don't need an angle grinder, I've knocked U-locks off quite easily with a hammer (Abus - couple hard blows) and a crowbar (Kryptonite - just twist it hard).  Any decent bolt cutters will snip a cable lock in short order.

dennityrrell

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2015, 11:43:16 AM »
You absolutely don't need an angle grinder, I've knocked U-locks off quite easily with a hammer (Abus - couple hard blows) and a crowbar (Kryptonite - just twist it hard).  Any decent bolt cutters will snip a cable lock in short order.

If you do not care about damaging the frame and you can hold the frame sturdy - then you can hammer+ crowbar it off. If you care more about the frame [in this case it sounds like you do not] then I have had a lot of success with an angle grinder.

GuitarStv

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2015, 11:47:28 AM »
I didn't damage either frame when breaking the locks.  (Both were locked through the rear triangle.)  Twisting is very safe for the frame, with the hammer it depends on the angle that the bike is locked up if you can get a clear swing.

sheepstache

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2015, 07:39:12 PM »
These are good points y'all make about, if I take it, taking the whole thing so I'm doing a service. Also, yes, a small percentage of bikes are registered so I could check that.

Man, though, this is starting to sound like too much work :) It's totally a kryptonite u-lock and I doubt it's the kind you can take out with a bic. They had a big trade-in program for those.

Riff

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2015, 07:59:55 PM »
Casey Neistat did a video on this.  His channel on YouTube is pretty awesome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wW6gGyfxn1U

sheepstache

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2015, 08:15:43 PM »
Ugh but Casey Neistat has such an incredibly punchable face.

Riff

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2015, 08:25:34 PM »
Oh.  Soooo, you're a bully?

Eric

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2015, 09:59:55 AM »
Casey Neistat did a video on this.  His channel on YouTube is pretty awesome.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wW6gGyfxn1U

I dig it. 

sheepstache

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2015, 10:57:37 AM »
Oh.  Soooo, you're a bully?

Not liking someone's videos is bullying now? I'm getting old.

This is now the third Casey Nieshernasherwhatever I've seen and every time he strikes me as a narcissistic douchenozzle.
This also sums up my feelings: http://www.stereogum.com/1756178/everything-about-this-nike-video-is-a-terrible-fucking-lie/vg-loc/videogum/

Not to say that other people are wrong, just that his video on bike theft is not going to be able to help me :)

sheepstache

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #20 on: September 17, 2015, 04:26:46 PM »
Wait.

I just realized Casey NiemanMarcus is also the 'guy hitting things in the bike lane' guy.

Conflicted now.

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #21 on: September 18, 2015, 04:44:17 AM »
I'd be a bit wary.

What if it's not abandoned by the owner, but rather stolen and dumped?

I had my bike stolen a few months ago, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone took whatever they could use/sell from it and left the rest somewhere. Harder to trace a seat and wheels than a frame.

Blatant

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #22 on: September 18, 2015, 05:40:39 AM »
Not to mention, if someone calls the cops while you're cutting the lock on that "abandoned" bike, the odds of you getting arrested are somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-50.

sheepstache

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #23 on: September 18, 2015, 06:51:37 AM »
Not to mention, if someone calls the cops while you're cutting the lock on that "abandoned" bike, the odds of you getting arrested are somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-50.

BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAA

I really should add my location to my profile thingy.

No, the cops in new york city are definitely not going to care about a bike being stolen.


Dammit! the classic video about stealing bikes in broad daylight is also a Niestat thing.
My world is being turned upside down.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZbklkFuFk-4

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #24 on: September 18, 2015, 07:29:29 AM »
No, the cops in new york city are definitely not going to care about a bike being stolen.

It's a sad statement that they care more about loose cigarettes being sold than theft.

GuitarStv

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #25 on: September 18, 2015, 09:56:52 AM »
I'd be a bit wary.

What if it's not abandoned by the owner, but rather stolen and dumped?

I had my bike stolen a few months ago, and I wouldn't be surprised if someone took whatever they could use/sell from it and left the rest somewhere. Harder to trace a seat and wheels than a frame.

Nah.  Nobody dumping a frame is going to take the time to lock it up.

norabird

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Re: Ethics of abandoned bike?
« Reply #26 on: September 18, 2015, 10:26:01 AM »
I'd go for it. I had a friend who left her bike in front of her apartment (2nd ave in east village), lost the keys, and left it there. We all thought it'd be gone in a month. Two apartments later, it is still there.