As the chaos of the first few weeks of classes subsides and the semester gets underway, the University Police Department is reminding students to register their bicycles.
For those who are prone to leaving their bikes in the same place for weeks or months at a time, UPD Capt. Jeff Holcomb said, registration could save students the cost of a new one.
UPD sweeps UF's campus each semester for abandoned bicycles, which are tagged with a notice that owners are asked to remove if they wish to keep their bikes.
Five days after leaving the tags, Holcomb and Physical Plant Division employees return to collect the bikes that still have tags.
UPD Maj. Brad Barber said there are occasional problems with people removing tags from bikes they don't own.
He urges students not to do that, since UPD continues the collection program to make more space on the racks for working bikes.
The next sweep will be in November. Holcomb said UPD usually collects 150 to 180 abandoned bikes during the Fall semester and about 300 after Spring semester, although the collection crew took in 600 bikes at the end of Spring 2009.
Since then, he said, UPD has worked with residence halls to more widely advertise the collections, and the number of bikes collected after dorm move-out has returned to average.
Bikes are determined to be abandoned if they show signs of long periods of disuse, such as dry-rotting tires, missing parts or grass growing through the wheel spokes as if they've been mowed around several times.
"Basically, if you can't ride it home today, it's been left," Holcomb said.
However, he said, during one sweep of the residence hall racks, UPD collected a new bike that still had its owner's manual in a plastic bag attached to the handlebars.
Its owner never removed the collection notice.
All bikes on residence hall racks are tagged at the end of the Spring semester.
If a registered bike gets collected, UPD will send a letter to the owner asking him or her to claim it.
Bikes that aren't claimed after 30 days are auctioned online at surplus.ufl.edu.
Barber said registration also increases the chances of getting a stolen bike back. He said he can remember many instances in which, after eyeing a UPD registration sticker, the question "Is this your bike?" prompted the rider to hand the bike over to police immediately.
Bicycles can be registered at UPD's office on Museum Road. Barber said the process takes only five minutes.
UPD collects between 150 and 180 abandoned bicycles every Fall semester and about 300 bikes after the Spring semester.