Madison police to donate abandoned bikes to nonprofit groups

Madison police to donate abandoned bikes to nonprofit groups
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A new ordinance will allow the Madison Police Department to donate abandoned bikes to local nonprofit organizations.

The Madison Common Council voted unanimously in favor of the proposal in early October.

Previously, if bikes were not claimed by their owners, Madison police were left with only two options: to sell them on Wisconsin Surplus Online Auction or to destroy them.

Officers recovered 500 bikes in 2015, and last year, they found 600 bikes across the city.

Garrett Ameigh, the MPD bike recovery specialist, said 290 of the bikes recovered in 2016 were thrown away.

“It kind of bugged me since there was sort of this grey area where there were bikes that were not auctionable and didn’t really need to be thrown away so I always thought that, you know, someone in the community could use those bikes,” Ameigh said.

When Madison police first recover a bike they are required to make attempts to notify the owner. The department will use the bike registration sticker to identify the owner and send a letter informing them their bike has been found.

If police can’t get ahold of the owner in 45 days, they have the right to donate, auction or destroy the bikes.

The Madison Police Department will have an application posted on its website for nonprofit organizations to fill out if they are interested in bike donations.

The ordinance will go into effect later this month.