Over 100,000 seized bikes went unclaimed in 2014
Last year some 161 thousand bicycles were seized in the 20 largest Dutch municipalities, because they were in the way, parked incorrectly or broken. However, more than 100 thousand of these seized bikes were never reclaimed, according to a study done by newspaper AD.
Of the four largest cities in the Netherlands, Rotterdam comes first with unclaimed bikes. Only 2,600 of the 11,500 bikes removed in the city were ever picked up again, a rate of 22.6 percent. In the Hague and Utrecht only a third of the bikes made it back to their owners. The percentage of reclaimed bikes is even lower in some smaller municipalities. In Haarlemmermeer only 1.3 percent of seized bikes were reclaimed - six of 462 - and Enschede it was 5.3 percent - 67 of more than 1,200 seized bikes.
Cyclists union Fietsersbond attributes the low reclaim percentage to the fact that people often mistakenly assume that their bike was stolen. "People panic: my bike is gone, now what? But be aware that your bike could also have been removed." Pieter van Es said to the newspaper. He added that some municipalities are too quick to remove bikes, or do so unjustly and calls on cyclists to complain if they think this happened.
Some of the unclaimed bikes are turned into scraps, but bikes that are still in good condition are sold to traders.