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Vélo is the French word for bike.

Metro Transit and Abandoned Bicycles

Bike on Bus

(Bike on Bus by M.V. Jantzen, on Flickr)

According to this article at the StarTribune, Metro Transit collects several hundred bicycles each year from people leaving them on the racks on the front of the buses.

From the article:

Each day dozens* of bikes get carried away by Metro Transit buses and trains, only to wander riderless around town. Last year 795 bikes went circulating around the metro, with 307 being reunited with their owners. Two years ago, 899 bikes were orphaned and only 262 reclaimed.

Only 30%-40% of the bikes left on the Metro Transit racks each year are reunited with their owners.  The remaining bikes are auctioned off at the Minneapolis Police Auctions, or donated to “a shop where kids can learn to repair them,” which I assume is the Sibley Bike Depot (if anyone knows otherwise, please educate me).

I’ve always wondered about what happens when someone forgets their bike on the front of the bus, but I was surprised to learn that there were so many bikes that were simply being abandoned this way.

Here are some possible explanations:

  • Cyclists don’t realize they can retrieve their bikes if they contact Metro Transit.
  • Cyclists assume that someone else has already stolen their bikes from the front of the bus, so they don’t bother contacting Metro Transit.
  • Cyclists don’t know where they lost their bikes, so they don’t contact Metro Transit.  They may think they lost them somewhere else.
  • Cyclists may be riding the bus (instead of cycling) because of a bike mechanical failure.  While riding the bus, they decide that the bikes aren’t worth fixing.

Readers, any other possible explanations?

*Note the hyperbole:
899 bikes÷365 days/year = 2.5 bikes/day
899 bikes÷260 weekdays/year = 3.5 bikes/day

5 comments to Metro Transit and Abandoned Bicycles

  • Melanie

    I wonder how easy it is to re-claim a bike you left on the bus. If I called and said I forgot to grab my bike- what kind of proof would I need as to my ownership? I would guess people not knowing their bike id’s or otherwise being able to prove ownership keeps the bikes from being returned. Any idea how long Metro Transit holds on to the bike before turning it over to the police? Maybe by the time you figure out who to contact at Metro Transit, the bike is already gone. Seems like a high number of unclaimed bikes to me too!

  • Kassie

    I think a lot of people abandon stolen bikes on the bus too. Instead of ditching them on the street, they ditch them on the bus.

    And I think MetroTransit holds them for at least 1 week, if not longer. To claim, I think you need to know basics about the bike, like color and brand, but also which bus line you left it on and possibly the time of day.

  • Ren

    I’ve always been curious if people who are riding the bus ever get their bikes stolen from the rack. If I had a ‘sweet ride’, I’d be nervous about it being stolen off the bus before my stop.

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