However, the high density of cyclists in The Netherlands is not always the height of sustainability, fun and rainbows. It comes with some problems too. One of them is the abandoned or ‘orphaned’ bike.
The orphaned bike is the bike that has been abandoned by its owner, is no longer being used and takes up space in the public spaces or parking facilities in the cities. This phenomenon can be observed in student cities and metropolitan areas. In the student city, the student usually will leave their bike once they finished their study or have to go back to their home country. According to the report from the Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management of The Netherlands, the percentage of orphaned bicycles in public parking facilities can go up to around 20% of capacity.
Take the example of Nijmegen. This oldest city in The Netherlands faces a similar problem with orphaned bikes. The current solution is hanging a plastic rope around the bike for 28 days. Some of the bikes were taken out by the owner before 28 days, leaving the plastic tag behind. The remaining ones (with the plastic tag still attached to the bike) will be removed by Algemene Fiets Afhandel Centrale (AFAC) after 28 days. People can then retrieve the bicycle from AFAC for a fee.