Ask Benny: How to donate your bike to charity

Dear Benny,
What is the policy regarding removal of abandoned bikes from Penn-owned bicycle racks? Who’s responsible for removing them, and how often is this done?
— Wondering About Wheels

Dear Wheel Watcher,
The folks at Public Safety and Facilities agree that abandoned bikes can be unsightly or even hazardous, and that’s why they help each other keep track of the problem. According to Cpl. Joseph Fischer, who handles crime prevention for the Division of Public Safety, at least twice a year, Penn police note the locations of abandoned bikes and meet with the Facilities department to advise which to remove from the racks. If there is significant damage—flat tires and a rusty frame, for example—Fischer says that the bike will be thrown away. If it is salvageable, the bike is either donated to a charity or to the Police Athletic League. The 148 bike racks around campus are all in close proximity to electronic surveillance, which helps to cut down on bike theft. To report an abandoned bike—or one that has been locked to a handrail of a building—call the non-emergency number (898-4498) or send Fischer an email at:

Dear Benny,
What is Family and Medical Leave, and when can I use it?
—Expectant Mom

Dear Expecting,
The Family and Medical Leave Act is a law that provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave during a 12-month period to eligible employees for specified family and medical reasons, including your pregnancy. According to Human Resources, Penn policies may require you to substitute sick leave, paid time off or short-term disability leave for unpaid leave in certain cases. For details, go to

Got a question for Benny? You can ask Benny about benefits, worklife issues, University history or trivia, or other matters pertaining to life at Penn. Send it via e-mail to or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106. A Current coffee mug goes to those whose questions we publish

Originally published on June 10, 2004