A county council says a new policy to deal with the scourge of abandoned bikes has seen 18 bicycles removed and sent for recycling.
Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council (DLRCC) introduced the scheme for dealing with deserted bikes late last year, where they had been left locked up by owners who had no intention of coming back for them.
It has been so successful that Cork City Council has been in touch with DLRCC to get more information on how it has worked, according to DLRCC cycling officer Gerry Flaherty.
The Dublin council has so far seen 18 bicycles removed, with another five going through the council’s new abandoned bike procedure before being taken away for good.
Gerry Flaherty said the plan was designed to free up scarce bicycle parking spaces where bikes had clearly been ditched by their owners.
He said the council already had powers to remove clearly damaged bikes where they were missing wheels or otherwise presenting a danger to the public.
However, apparently healthy bikes – which were simply cast aside by their owners – were often left for long periods of time untouched.
“We all knew of some bikes that had been left around for quite a while, especially around Dún Laoghaire,” he said.
“There was no hope of people coming back to claim them so what we do now is to follow a simple procedure where we just apply a tag to the bike.
“We outline the date on when we will take it if it is not claimed in that time. Generally, that is two weeks after but in practice, we have been leaving it a little bit longer.
“After that, we collect it and leave it in the depot and give a little more time for the owner to reclaim it.”
He said so far Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has had only had one case where the owner of an apparently abandoned bike had contacted them to say they would come and get it.
All the bikes – most of which had rusted chains or other parts – have been sent to a specialist salvage company who have been able to either restore them to roadworthy condition or at worst salvage them for parts.
Gerry Flaherty said in advance of the scheme, their concern had been that people would ring up asking where their bike had gone when it was too late.
“We have had no calls of that nature yet,” he said. “We have had calls from members of the public ringing up to tell us a bike is abandoned.”
Mr Flaherty said the key motivation was to free up bike parking spots, especially for when the pandemic restrictions come to an end.
He said: “It will be busier in six months’ time and we have managed to free up some spaces so far.”
Mr Flaherty said the ideal scenario was still to reunite abandoned bicycles with their owners.
“We want to try and find the owner in the first instance,” he said. “That’s preferable; we’re not in business to take away bikes.
“The last resort is to remove it and store it. But we would much prefer to get it back to an owner rather than disposing of it.”
Last week, Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council announced that funding had been allocated by the National Transport Authority to install cycle parking around the county and it invited sports Clubs there to apply for spaces thereby promoting active travel among their members.