Who is collecting the abandoned bicycles these days?

Byron Kidd
Last May I wrote about an abandoned bicycle that I would have liked to picked up, repired and given to a good home. It had been sitting on the street outside our apartment with a bent back wheel for months and I fully expected it to be picked up and sent for recycling or disposal in no time at all. Though, here we are in April 2010 and its still there. What has happened to the once ruthless efficiency of the bicycle police?

While updating the status of abandoned bicycles in the area, here is another for you. Last August I wrote that bicycles apparently abandoned by (ex) tenants in out apartment building had been marked for collection. Each seemingly abandoned bicycle had a notice taped to its seat indicating that if the bicycle was not claimed it would be removed by the end of August. August was 8 months ago and the tagged bicycles are still there quietly rusting away.

I used to be amazed by the efficient and frequent manner abandoned bicycles were removed from the streets, now I'm amazed that a bike can sit abandoned on the street for one year and not be cleared up.

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  1. You would think some Chinese guy would collect them for scrap metal.

  2. The ward and cities collect the bikes. What becomes of the collected bikes depends on the municipality. In my city, Kodaira, the city turns them over to bike shops for sale as used bikes. In Shinagawa Ward it is the same. In Toshima Ward there is a program to send them to Africa.

    There is also a group called Bicycles for Humanity that has just started up a Tokyo chapter to collect bicycles, parts and tools to send to Africa to help out those for whom a bicycle is an critical means of transportation. http://www.b4h-tokyo.org.

  3. Paul, In my neighborhood the bicycles are collected by Suginami Ward and make their way to a center such as Suginami Green Cycle where they are prepared for resale. This is much better than 15 years ago when I regularly saw perfectly good bicycles being fed directly into a trash compactor.

    This post was simply me wondering aloud how in a city with such efficient, some would say ruthlessly efficient, collection of abandoned bicycles a number of bicycles in my area could go uncollected for over 1 year.

    Thanks for the information about Bicycles for Humanity. I've received a number of enquiries in the past from parties in Africa about importing used Japanese bicycles and now I know where to direct them.

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