Salt Lake City will never be Portland, but it gets a little closer every day.
Recently, the City Council approved a resolution that would allow all of the 150-175 unclaimed bicycles that the police collect each year to be donated to the city’s nonprofit bicycle collective. Usually, they would be kept for 90 days, then auctioned off by the city, raising a few thousand dollars. But the city is willing to forgo that money. Instead, the bikes will end up going to low income residents who might not otherwise be able to afford a bicycle.
For anyone not familiar with the bicycle collective concept, it’s very simple. They sell used bikes outright, for less than the current market value. For anyone that can’t afford to buy the bike, they can donate their time at the collective, learning a skill while earning a bike. If they’re already donating their time at another non-profit, they only need to provide documentation of that in order to qualify for a free bike. Obviously, this only works if there is a constant source of donations, either complete bikes or parts, and people to fix them.
This resolution by the city is a big step towards ensuring the sustainability of this very worthwhile program. Let’s hope this takes hold in other cities, as it’s pretty much a win-win for everyone.
As a closing note, if you have the time, or some spares you don’t need, please look into donating to your local collective.