For the second year, Ohio University is tagging and confiscating abandoned bikes to eventually sell them.
The OU Office of Sustainability and Moving and Surplus are selling abandoned bikes as part of the ReBike program, which aims to cut back on the number of abandoned bikes that congest bike racks on campus. The sale took place April 19 in front of Walter Hall.
Each bike was sold for $40 to OU students, staff and faculty members who showed up the the event. The money pays for OU Moving and Surplus, an auxiliary responsible for moving, surplus, delivery and rental-related tasks at OU.
“We are just trying to get more people to ride bicycles and get out of single-occupancy vehicles and increase the bike culture on campus,” Samuel Crowl, a project coordinator at the Office of Sustainability, said.
The Ohio University Police Department goes around to bike racks across campus every May after graduation and identifies bikes that look abandoned. Staff members place colorful crepe paper ribbon on the spoke and frame that breaks if the bike is used. After two months, if the paper is not removed or broken, OUPD confiscates the bike and holds it for 90 days.
“If the ribbon doesn’t break, then we know it isn't being used, and so, after a period of time, we take the bike and put it in storage,” OUPD Lt. Tim Ryan said.
OUPD takes the surplus bikes and stores them in a room at The Ridges. Some of the bikes have been there for years, and some may have been from this past summer.
“I am just amazed that every year there is like a hundred people who don’t want their bike anymore,” Ryan said. "That's a lot of money they are letting go to waste."
Under the Ohio Revised Code, surplus items are required to be sold at auction or sold internally for a set price. Everyone who chooses to buy from the ReBike program is required to show an Ohio ID.
“It is a great way to keep the bikes from piling up too much and overcrowding the bike racks,” Peter Kotses, owner of Athens Bicycle and Athens city councilman, said.
Besides seeing the notice attached to their bike, people who park their bikes on OU’s campus receive an email informing them that their bikes may be taken. If students' bikes are taken and they would like them back, they have to notify OUPD within 90 days or the bikes become OU's property.
“I think there is enough time to show up and claim it, but I think this is something everyone should be aware of,” Kotses said.