Bicycle Impoundment

Bicycles are impounded on the UW campus for several reasons. Most often, abandoned bicycles are impounded as a part of routine campus maintenance. Many students desert their bicycles when leaving campus or if the bike has been vandalized. These bikes are removed after a warning period to make room for more bicycle parking and to prevent safety and maintenance problems. In rare cases bicycles may need to be removed without notice due to construction or emergencies.

Typically 3 days notice is given when possible before removing bikes for these reasons. Bicycles locked in a manner that impede pedestrian access (particularly, but not limited to, locking to handrails at steps or wheelchair ramps), may be impounded immediately with no notice.

Bike Recovery

If you think your bike has been impounded, call the Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator at 608-263-2969 or email Please have ready information pertaining to the date and location your bike was last seen, physical description of the vehicle and/or a Madison registration/serial number.

If your bicycle was impounded from a location in the City of Madison that is not on the UW Campus (State Street Mall and some locations on University, Park, and Lake St), contact City of Madison “Bicycle Recovery Specialist” John Yonke. His contact info is, 608-267-8611.

Abandoned Bicycles

What is an "abandoned" bike? Any bicycles left on campus attached to or parked at the same bicycle rack or bicycle parking area for more than 3 days (72 hours)-except at University Housing facilities- may be considered abandoned and will be impounded.

Bike Disposal

Impounded bicycles are delivered to UW SWAP after remaining unclaimed for 60 days, where they are then made available for sale. If you are moving and don't want to take your bike with you, don't abandon it! Instead, donate your unwanted bike to a local non-profit program. Contact Wheels for Winners (608-273-4787) or Dreambikes (608-467-6315).

Abandoned Bicycle Report Form

To report what appears to be an abandoned bicycle, please use our comments form. Bikes are impounded several times per year. Your complaint will be kept until the next impoundment session at which time the bike will be tagged. Please include as much detail as possible on the comment form regarding location and bicycle description.