ST. GEORGE – Unclaimed bicycles currently being stored by police will now find their way into the hands of those who could benefit from them thanks to a donation agreement approved by the City Council Thursday night.
The St. George Police Department is currently storing an “enormous amount” of unclaimed bicycles that it would like to donate to the Bicycle Collective of Southern Utah, City Attorney Shawn Guzman said.
The Bicycle Collective of of Southern Utah is a branch of the nonprofit, Salt Lake City-based Bicycle Collective. Part of what the nonprofit does is take donated bicycles and then recycle and refurbish them while also promoting cycling as a sustainable form of transportation.
The Collective also runs a program in which adults and children can earn bicycles, as well as learn how to maintain and repair them.
Unclaimed bicycles collected by the Police Department – of which there is currently an excesss of over 100, Guzman estimated – are usually sold at auction. The city usually doesn’t get much for them in return, he said.
“To dispose of these bicycles we wanted to do it in a way that would benefit the community and those that would need the bicycles,” Guzman said.
People who would be able to earn a bike from the Collective tend to be on the economically-challenged side of things, said Marc Mortensen, the city’s support services director who is also a major advocate for cycling and active transportation in general.
Bicycles are also provided to children through the nonprofit group, he said.
While addressing the City Council, Mortensen said the Bicycle Collective of Southern Utah helped provide bicycles to residents of the Switchpoint Community Resource Center last year.
The Collective took donated bikes and turned them around for Switchpoint clients to use, thus providing them a means of transportation beyond walking and the SunTran bus system.
“We’re really trying to get transportation into the hands of those that need it,” Mortensen said.
For the moment, the Collective lacks a building to provide some of the programs it offers to the community, Mortensen said. An ideal location would be in the city’s downtown area, he said.
A community bike shop would likely be operated out of the building as well, which would offer “good quality, solid bikes” to the public for purchase, Mortensen said. These bikes would be preowned and recycled by the Collective, and sold for prices of around $100 to $150.
While a portion of the bike sales goes to the salaries of people involved in the Collective, like bicycle mechanics, the rest is used to buy bicycle parts and fund the Collective’s programs, said Danielle Larkin, chair of the Bicycle Collective of Southern Utah.
In 2016, the Collective statewide gave away 400 bicycles to adults and over 900 to children. It also served an estimated 10,000 in the state as well, she said.
“The donation of the bicycles from the city is a huge boon,” Larkin said.
The City Council voted unanimously to approve the donation of the bikes to the Bicycle Collective.
“This is a win-win” for everyone, Councilman Ed Baca said.
- Bicycle Collective of Southern Utah: Website | Facebook
- Bicycle Collective (for Utah proper): Website
- People looking to donate a bicycle can contact Danielle Larkin at 435-619-9971 for details.
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