25 March 2010

Police Steal Bicycles

Bike Racks and Wrecks
A normal project to remove unused bicycles from outside the train station in the town of Slagelse went awry. The police 'nicked' a whole bunch of bikes.

Like in many countries, bikes are taped around the wheel and, on the announced day of clearing up unused bikes, any bike with unbroken tape is removed. Alternatively, a tag is placed on the bicycle which the owner removes if it is in use.

In Slagelse, however, it went a bit wrong and many bicycles that were still in use were removed by the police.

One man who discovered his bicycle was gone called his insurance company and informed them that his bike was taken but he knew who took it. The insurance company said that the bicycle wasn't stolen if the police took it.

Normally, everything would end happily, since the city keeps the bikes in storage for some weeks before they're either destroyed or sold at auctions. This time, however, the bikes were driven straight to the landfill.

The problem of responsibility remains. Danish State Railways and Slagelse city agree that the police officer on the scene who decided which bikes were to be removed is responsible.

400,000 bicycles are scrapped each year in Denmark. Plus a few extra this year in Slagelse.

Via: Ekstra Bladet


Oldfool said...

Sounds like your police there have the same intellectual qualities as the ones we have here. So sad.

Gerard said...

Scrapped? Why not fill a shipping container or two with the bikes destined for landfill and send them to Africa? I'm sure bikesforafrica.org would jump at the chance!

The Tiny Homestead said...

Straight to the landfill? Arrrgghh! Stupid stupid stupid.

Cait said...


That is insanity! When you think the lengths the EU has gone to introduce recycling schemes for all white goods, batteries, etc, etc - and new bikes are so stupidly expensive these bikes should be distributed to those that can't afford them!

Oh my God. The behaviour of the Police in this was obviously absolutely disagraceful, but if that's the attitude in terms of the bigger picture, it seems hardly surprising they obviously believe people see their bikes as disposable.

kfg said...

Man I would love to set up blasting and paint booths next to that landfill. Most of those bikes could be restored to usability, or even as new condition.

The barriers against being economic and legal, not mechanical.

". . .it seems hardly surprising they obviously believe people see their bikes as disposable."

Because many people do; hence the social issue of what to do about abandoned bikes in the first place.

It does seem to me that drop off recycling centers would be an appropriate measure to take.

rattarikkaks said...

Does anyone know what is the quality of bikes going to the landfill? I noticed in CPH that average bikes are not so rusty as in A-dam for example.
If shipping to Africa is too expensive then shipping to Estonia would maybe be feasible?? Landfilling also costs...
We really lack a proper second-hand market of bikes here in Estonia, people do not want to leave their new bikes on the streets. And for some reason compared to getting a used car, people hardly ever look for a used bike when they need one.

Wild Bill said...

I'm sure that most of those bikes were made of steel, which is among the most easily recyclable materials. Why fill up a landfill when someone will pay you for steel scrap?

kfg said...

And those that are not steel are most likely aluminum; a material very difficult and energy intensive to produce in the first place, but even easier to recycle than steel, making it in many ways the ideal recyclable.

There are labor/economic issues, however, with separating the metals before melting down, compared to how much metal you actually recover from a bicycle.

At the moment there is also that whole world wide economic crisis thang going on, in which many recyclers are going broke, because with manufacturing down so is the demand for raw materials and recycling is actually a marginal business to begin with.

CarFree Stupidity said...

Scarppad? What happened to recycling. 400,000 bikes could be reused, resold, or at least parted out. There must be over a $1 million in parts that could be used.

Kiki said...

What a waste!

lagatta à montréal said...

That makes me so terribly sad. The police should be held to account. And what a shame, what a waste to send workable bicycles to landfills. They could change people's lives in poor countries, or even countries where there is not so much access to good second-hand bicycles for poorer people.

Joe said...

I always thought Denmark was such a nice place, but after reading this, and about what happened at the climate talks, it seems more like a police state.