Riding a bicycle is a healthy practice, both for individuals and the planet. Bike riding is beneficial to cardiovascular fitness, physical strength, and can be a great way to relieve stress. Additionally, those who opt to ride a bike instead of drive motor vehicles help cut down on carbon emissions. The University of Rochester prides itself on being a bike-friendly campus and plenty of students, staff, and faculty are seen riding bikes especially when the weather is nice. Campus is dotted with cyclists and racks fill up quickly in popular locations. Students can even rent bikes on campus through City Cycles. However, there are certain circumstances when bikes are abandoned on campus. But the good news is these unclaimed bikes are eventually given a new life on the road.
When bike racks are repainted, maintained, or moved to a new location in between semesters, bikes are often discovered to have been abandoned or forgotten on the racks. In certain cases bikes are recovered by University Security Services or the Grounds Department of University Facilities and Services.
Bikes left too long on the racks are given a paper warning when they are in imminent danger of removal. Other recovered bikes have been left unlocked or abandoned throughout campus. The unattended or unsecured bikes are recovered to avoid theft.
Once detained, bikes are then held for six months. During this time, students and other owners are encouraged to claim their bike. This timeline is derived from New York State Property law. Property is maintained according to its value for a determinate amount of time. In this case, every bike is estimated to be worth $500 to be fair, and the six month period is determined from this monetary value. After this period, if no one comes forward, the bikes are donated to a charitable organization such as R Community Bikes, Inc. On average, there are 75 to 150 bikes in Security’s custody and approximately 150 bikes are processed out to donation every year.
Brian Rushford, Lead Security Officer, is property custodian of Lost and Found property. He, and the rest of the department, would prefer to return a bike to its owner whenever possible. Donation is done carefully, and R Community Bikes is a reputable local organization that donates and sells bikes to those in need all over the city of Rochester.
If you are a bike owner whose property has been recovered by Security, you can reclaim your bike by calling either the main Security line at 585-275-3333 or Brian Rushford at 585-275-3437. In order to claim your bike, you need to have at least one of the following: the receipt of purchase, the serial number, a detailed description of the bike, a key to its lock, or a picture. If you do not quite have any of these things, at least try to note something specific about the bike only the owner would remember, such as a unique sticker or customization.
New this academic year, owners may e-mail a photo of their bike or its serial number to firstname.lastname@example.org, to be kept on file. This would help establish ownership should anything happen to the bike. In the future, Security would like to barcode bikes inconspicuously to aid in identification and keep records of bike ownership, but this program is not feasible at this time.
Bikes are not the only example of property that Security donates or appropriately redistributes. The department also sends calculators to the Math Department, cell phones to the IT Department for recycling, and unclaimed eye glasses to the URMC Eye Clinic. Anything reusable is given back to the University or greater Rochester community.
By Alanna Scheinerman, Class of 2013