I was interested in the report that the Dutch authorities are sending abandoned bicycles to Syrian refugee camps. I know that there are indeed lots of bicycles all over the Netherlands, but there are also many that appear to be rarely used. To take just one example, the multi-storey bike park outside the main station in Amsterdam seemed, when we were there, to be full to overflowing at all times. I wondered how this could be; surely of all the bikes there, a reasonable number would be used regularly? Yet the vast majority of bikes seemed untouched for days at a time. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps occasional visitors to Amsterdam left a bike there so they could use it on their visits.
However, after the latest report, it now seems to me that if the Dutch really made an effort, they could find many more abandoned bikes to send to the refugees! But since the report says they already have 25,000 ownerless bikes, perhaps they’re content not to look more carefully at “legally” parked bikes!