The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance on Feb. 24, 2014 to expand the City’s program to reuse unclaimed bikes. It’s hard to underestimate how dramatically a bicycle can transform the life of a young person. Over the past year, community groups have been working with the Human Services Agency and Police Department to take recovered bikes from the SFPD property room and make them available to low-income youth.
Here’s how these “bike convivios,” or community bike builds work:
- The City makes available recovered bikes that have not been claimed by their original owner.
- The Bike Coalition arranges for mechanics from great organizations like the SF Yellow Bike Project, Pedal Revolution and the Bike Kitchen to fix up the bikes.
- Community groups like PODER, POWER, and the Chinatown Community Development Center recruit low-income youth who need bicycles to participate.
- At the bike convivios, the youth are shown how to ride safety and do basic maintenance, and then given a bike with lights, a helmet, and a lock.
The new ordinance will ensure that unclaimed bikes continue to be made available for these programs. The ordinance will also expand the program so that larger bikes can be made available to transit-dependent adults, with the goal of providing bikes to entire families. Here are two great videos on the program:
- Video on PODER’s bike convivios
- Board of Supervisors hearing on the ordinance (Jump to 12:30 for compelling public comment from people who participated in the bike builds.)