By Stephen Strobbe
Beginning May 17, the Baylor Police Department will start removing abandoned bikes from bike racks in an effort to clean campus before the first summer term begins.
Baylor police will hold the bikes until September, when they will be donated if they have not been claimed.
The Baylor Police Department began removing deserted bikes from campus about four years ago after they noticed some people were leaving old and broken bikes on the campus bike racks for years.
“When you view the campus after graduation and into the summer and see the vast numbers of abandoned bicycles that students leave behind, it looks like this has become a Baylor junkyard,” Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said.
“It’s a purging if you will,” Doak said. “It cleans the campus and gets us ready to go into the summer and certainly into the fall.”
Fliers are being placed around campus to alert students they will need to take their bikes off the campus bike racks or else they will be removed. Regardless of the warnings, often hundreds of bikes are left behind.
“Usually, the bicycles that are left on campus are ones that are not in great condition,” said Megan Partain, communications coordinator for the Baylor Police Department.
Last year, only seven or eight people claimed their bicycles, out of the approximately 185 that were removed in May, Partain said.
The police department stores them until September, when the unclaimed bikes are given to Waco Summer Youth Ministries. The ministry was started by Tom Hill, senior associate athletic director for Baylor Athletics.
Through Waco Summer Youth Ministries, these once-forgotten bikes are given new life, going to various ministries in Mexico and Cuba, inner-city ministries in Dallas and organizations such as Patriot Kids Ministries, an nonprofit organization that serves children of people in the military.
Though the individual bikes are often in a state of disrepair, people are able to salvage parts in order to make one usable bike. And while shipping them has quite a high financial cost, Hill said that it benefits the people who receive them.
“It’s an amazing amount of work,” Hill said. “But we’ve tried to make lemonade out of some lemons.”
Should students find themselves home for the summer and suddenly realize they accidentally left their bikes on campus and are unable to return, they will have an opportunity to claim them in the fall. In order to do so, they will need a solid description of where the bike was left, a physical description of the bike and the bike’s serial number.
This annual purging of old bikes is preparation for next year’s move-in day, Doak said.
“We’re taking action in May that we know will impact the campus come move-in day in August. It’s the first act of move-in day,” Doak said. “You’ve got to prepare a place.”