How to report an abandoned bike

Abandoned bikes are everywhere you look around London. The leftover remains of bikes that thieves have stripped of parts and bikes that have been simply forgotten by owners.

This article shows you how to report an abandoned bike to each London borough and TfL. For hire bikes, this is a separate issue and we have included direct contact details for the main scheme providers in London.

Before we start, should you know anyone (an authority or individual) who wishes to give away an unwanted bike to a good cause, explore our donate a bike blog post.

What is the process with abandoned bikes?

Before you report an abandoned bike, do take a note of the exact location on an app such as What3Words. Also take a photo so you can remember to input the correct details about the bike parts or whole bike, such as the brand and colour. If you have seen the bike over a number of weeks or months in the same location this will be useful information for the authority.

Typically after reporting an abandoned bike the authority will place a notice on the bike that it is going to be subject to removal. This then provides the owner with an initial grace period, 7-days, for example, to remove the bike or bike parts. The bike or part is then removed, the police updated, and stored for a period of time to allow the owner to come forward before the final disposal of the bike (or parts).

Report an abandoned bike in London

London boroughs and TfL

Whilst you would expect all London boroughs to be aligned, the way the public report abandoned bikes differs, as does what happens following a report. Some councils use the functionality of or on their websites, but some just direct you to contact forms, email addresses and phone numbers.

When performing our research we noticed that it’s far clearer to find out how to report an abandoned car on council websites compared to a bike. In fact, when we had to contact some specific councils, the question of abandoned bikes caused some confusion. With some councils it led to assumptions that the best route would be reporting via wider categories such as ‘fly-tipping’ and in one case, a ‘highway-obstruction’.

TfL have a dedicated portal for reporting which can be found here

London borough councils:

London bike hire company contact details

Santander Cycles:
Phone: 0343 222 6666
X/Twitter: @SantanderCycles

Phone: 0800 048 8122
X/Twitter: @limebike

Human Forest:
Phone: 020 8157 7491
X/Twitter: @humanforests

Phone:  0808 164 9486
X/Twitter: @tier_mobility

Other locations around the UK

If you live outside of London, Fix My Street is usually a safe bet as your starting point as it’s widely used by councils. Or if a specific council does not make it clear on their website about how to report an abandoned bicycle, the quickest route is to ask them via their main switchboard phone number (or X/Twitter).

A similar contact approach can be taken for rail, travel operators, educational institutions, private landowners and other authorities around the UK. Each may have a different approach, but most will have a phone number if information is not readily available online. A clear example of an approach would be by the University of Edinburgh.