Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bicycle weeding

Despite the enormous amount of bicycle parking near the Leiden train station, there are never enough spaces! The underground facilities are always double stuffed. Many cyclists will jam their bicycle between two full ground level spaces.

For this reason, I usually try to take a top rack position.

(Jamming leads to bent wheels, trapped fender spokes, caught cables, loud swearing and loss of composure...)

 On my way to (parking for the train, I'm so lazy these days) work, I saw city sanctioned workers doing a weeding of the bicycles in unapportioned bicycle spots.

Most of the weeding I have seen before was for bicycles that were forgotten and left in one spot for more than a few months, but this was for nice shiny bicycles that were jammed in by harried and hurried riders.
Amusingly, the city workers were not more enterprising than the cyclists and only weeded the front section closest to their truck.

Doei Doei bicycles!

Apparently, the City Hall will maintain a registry of these bicycles and charge a fine to pick them up from a warehouse. I'll post some links when I find them...

Leiden City bylaws:
Phone number to inquire about bicycles, (071) 516 5503.  
And, to get your bicycle back, you can visit Willem Barentszstraat 20, Monday - Saturday and pay the €26 euro fee.


  1. Interesting! We never knew this is being done.
    How would the owners of the bikes know that their bikes were 'weeded' and not stolen? Await any other info you may obtain. We are just a curious lot. ;p :D
    L & 5 Friends

  2. Any experienced Dutch cyclists knows this can happen, and the phone number of the council bike dump is listed on signs around the station area.

    Those signs are part of a system of by-laws that allow the council to essentially confiscate private property. There's a long-running conflict of interests between the cities, who want to clean up their station areas and town centres, and the cyclists, who want to have the freedom to park their vehicle wherever they want.

    The latest ruling from the high court (yes, it goes that far up) says that the council can remove a bike if it's been parked for more than 30 days in a specifically marked 'temporary parking only' area (such as the Leiden station area) or if it's a danger to the public. Additionally, they have the right to dispose of abandoned bike wrecks, which is generally taken to mean a bike that has two flat tires and another major defect, such as a vandalised or stolen saddle.

    The Leiden by-laws specifically mention eleven locations where you can legally park for up to 30 days (three guarded, eight unguarded).

  3. There was a second comment! I wonder where it went... The commenter gave a helpful link to the Leiden City bylaws (Thank you!!),

    And I think the portion that applies to the weeding is this:

    "In het restrictiegebied worden fietsen die buiten de daarvoor bestemde rekken staan, direct verwijderd en opgeslagen."

    In the restricted area, bicycles that are between slots are removed immediately and stored.

    To get your bicycle back, you can visit Willem Barentszstraat 20, Monday - Saturday and pay the €26 euro fee.

    There is also a phone number, (071) 516 5503.

  4. haha! this happened to me the other day. i haven't picked up the bike yet, but i figure it is pretty safe as is right now. i'll just see it as paid storage, which is quite convenient since i'll be out of the city for 10 days.

    btw, i am dutch but have been gone for so long (five years abroad) that i didn't know about this. are you still in leiden right now? would be fun to meet up! i love bikes too.

  5. Hi. I gave a problem with my bike in Leiden. I had it locked in a rack stand in the square in the Steenstraat, when a beach volley event was going on, and the day that the even was finished, someone removed EVERY bike AND the rack stands from there! I went to Willen Barentszstraat 20, where stolen or lost bikes are kept but nothing!! Can you please help me??

    1. Hi Antonios,
      I only know about the Barentzstraat 20 facility. They have an online photo gallery of the bikes...
      I don't know any other options. :(