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Abandoned Bike Policy

Bike racks are provided for your use, and it is our expectation that they are used whenever possible. Bicycles are never to be locked to handrails, wayfinding signage, or lamp posts and we ask that you lock to other out-of-the-way objects such as fences only when no racks are available. If your bike is obstructing access to campus facilities, especially on wheelchair ramps, your bike may be removed with no advance notice.

When bikes are left unattended for long periods of time, they take up space on racks that other people may want to use. They can also start to rust and detract from campus aesthetics. Physical Plant crews may need to do work on or around the bike racks periodically - work which can be impeded by long-abandoned bikes. For these reasons, Illinois Wesleyan University has adopted the following policy for identifying and dealing with abandoned bikes on our campus.

Your Responsibilities as a Bike Owner

Owners of all bikes are expected to stop by their bikes at least once a week, even when they’re not being ridden, for a quick visual inspection.

  • If a bike is stolen or damaged, the faster it can be reported to Campus Safety, the better.
  • If we believe a bike has been abandoned, we will tag it with a handlebar hanger. If you do not contact us, we will remove your bike after 7 days.

We consider abandoned bikes to be bikes that have not been moved for at least one non-winter month and/or bikes left stationary during summer break that are not near officially designated summer housing.

If you find a handlebar tag on your bike:

In most cases, we may just need you to move your bike so we can perform regular maintenance on the area around the bike rack or to comply with accessibility requirements. In other cases, we may believe your bike has been abandoned and all you have to do to save it from removal is to fill out the claim form. Contact the Campus Safety Department if you have any questions.

How long will we wait?

Near residential buildings, the University will not remove a bike until at least seven days after it has been tagged unless it is considered a safety risk (such as bikes blocking doorways or handrails). Elsewhere on campus, especially near academic buildings, bikes may be removed at least 12 hours after tagging or after 8:00 AM the next day (whichever is later) unless it is considered a safety risk - or in the case of a special event (such as bikes left in front of State Farm Hall on the morning of Commencement).

Where do removed bikes go?

When a bike is removed by University personnel, it is held by the Campus Safety department for at least three months to give the owner an opportunity to claim it. (If a bike is removed after April 15, it is held by Campus Safety until at least September 15.) If your bike isn’t where you left it, visit the Campus Safety Department. If your bike was removed by University personnel, you will be able to pick it up (if you haven’t registered your bike, be prepared to give a detailed description). At this time, there is no fee to pick up a bike from Campus Safety. If it turns out your bike was stolen, you will also be able to file a report at the Campus Safety Department.

Bikes that remain at Campus Safety past the claim deadline will be donated to the IWU Bike Coop, which may fix them up for sale, use them for parts, or donate them to recyclers.

We believe this policy strikes a fair and reasonable balance between the needs of the University community and your rights as a bicycle owner. If you have any questions about this policy, please contact bike committee chair Chris Sweet.