Madison Police donates bikes to help people in need

MADISON, Wis (WMTV) -- Madison Police's Bike Recovery Program allows them to donate abandoned bikes to non-profits and help people in need.

The Beacon is one of many organizations who has received bikes from MPD. The Beacon is a homeless center that provides resources for those in need. They said the bikes are changing lives.

Over 200 people in need walk through the doors of The Beacon each day searching for comfort and resources.

"We can give them a hot lunch every day, laundry and showers," Michael Moody, The Beacon Community and Partner Relations Specialist said.

One of their biggest hurdles is transportation.

"We can often help get the person to the interview or help them get a job, but we don't have the resources to constantly giving them bus tickets to maintain the job," Moody said.

The Beacon applied to get bikes from the Madison Police Bike Recovery Program and eventually got 30 bikes. The Beacon said the goal was to help those experiencing homelessness in Dane County pedal toward a better life.

"I think there was excitement and a sense of pride both individually and the pride of doing things," Moody said.

The employees said the two wheels helps give means of transportation to search for jobs, find housing and independence.

"We've seen constantly many results just from the bike program and we've only done this one year," John Adams, The Beacon Program Director said.

Madison Police said they find the abandoned bikes all over the city.

"They are locked to street signs, grass is growing through them and they're sometimes in people's yards," John Yonke, MPD Bicycle Recovery Specialist said.

MPD said they don't just grab the bikes. They make sure to look for signs that they've been there for weeks.

"It's clearly rusted, weathered or has cobwebs growing through it,” Yonke said.

Police said they first try to find the original owner, but the return rate is low.

"I think bike registration is huge if people do that it's easier to give bikes back to them," he said.

A change in city ordinance a couple years ago allows MPD to put the abandoned bikes to good use.

"Now that we can donate bikes it's another way of giving back to people who could use a mode of transportation," Yonke said.

Madison Police has donated over 100 bikes to organizations so far.

Click
here for the non-profit application for donated bikes.