Rusted chains and sprawled hunks of metal will no longer be fixtures on bicycle racks at the University of Miami Coral Gables campus.
Beginning yesterday, UM Police Department will confiscate approximately 60 abandoned bicycles from different locations on campus, Crime Prevention Coordinator John Pepper said. UNICCO, with the supervision of a UMPD officer, is performing the actual removal of the bicycles on behalf of UMPD.
An abandoned bicycle is described as bicycles that appear dismantled, inoperative or in a partially or fully wrecked condition, the Abandoned Bicycle Policy says. The purpose of the policy is to help the university remain an organized, well-maintained and crime free campus, Pepper said.
“We go out of our way to make sure that we don’t take a bike that someone is using,” Pepper said.
The policy, which is modeled after the Florida Statue, is comprised of three phases.
Phase One was the placement of signs on all bicycles thought to be abandoned. These signs notified owners that the bicycle will be confiscated within 20 days unless UMPD is contacted, Pepper said.
Phase Two is the placement of abandoned bicycles at a holding location for 90 days. These bicycles will be photographed and listed with full details on the UMPD Web site, Pepper said. A list of confiscated bicycles and corresponding serial numbers are given to police officers to reference when a bicycle is reported stolen.
If a person comes forward to claim a bicycle but can not prove ownership that person must sign an affidavit and give all their personal information in order to have the bicycle released, Pepper said. Since the implementation of the policy in May 2007, only a few people have come forward to claim a confiscated bicycle.
After the 90 days, the owner is said to have forfeited the bicycle to the University, the Abandoned Bicycle Policy showed. Since the policy is fairly new, Phase Three is still being discussed. This phase will include the removal of the bicycles from the holding location to be auctioned, given to charity or donated to a program on campus.
Prior to the Abandoned Bicycle Policy, facilities handled removal of any abandoned bicycles, Pepper said.
Junior Carol Perry believes the removal of abandoned bicycles is a wonderful idea.
“I am ecstatic because there is no room on the bicycle racks,” Perry said. “It discourages me to even use my bike.”
After the confiscations this week UMPD will have removed approximately 120 bicycles since the policy was implemented, Pepper said.
Ashley Torres may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bicycles on Campus brochure, which is available on the UMPD website, recommends that all students register their bicycles. A registration number and sticker is given to all owners of registered bicycles as well as a free u-style lock, valued between $40- $70, Pepper said. This helps in identifying owners in the event of possible confiscation as well as identifying the bicycle if it is ever reported stolen. For more information on bicycles and the Abandoned Bicycle Policy, visit the UMPD website at www.miami.edu/police.