Bike Auction

Bicycle Auction

Bike auctions happen twice a year, usually in mid-October to early May. We have a live auctioneer and all proceeds go toward funding and building our commuting program.

Next live auction: May 4, 2019

Bicycle Auction FAQs


  • Where do you get the bicycles up for auction?
  • The Bicycle Program regularly patrols campus and tags (with a bright orange notice) any bicycle that appears to be abandoned. Once tagged, owners are given 48 hours to take their bicycle and if needed, repair it. Upon follow-up inspection two days later, bicycles whose warning tags are not removed are impounded for 90 days, allowing the owners to claim their missing bike. If your bicycle is registered, there is no cost to retrieve it from impound. If your bicycle is not registered, you may be asked to pay a $25 impound fee or register it for $12.
  • What are the main reasons bicycles are abandoned?
  • Bicycles that are not working well are the most likely to be abandoned by owners. Squeaky chains, loose brakes, flat tires, and lost keys for locks are all common reasons an owner might choose to walk away from their bicycle.
  • Do you try to get in touch with the owners of the bicycles?
  • Absolutely! The Bicycle Program follows up with owners of registered bicycles within 24 hours and transfer all the serial numbers to UCDPD for vetting, holding the bicycles for 90 days. Registration is proof of ownership and non-registered bicycles are difficult to reunite with owners as they require proof of purchase or recent photos with the unlocked bicycle to sufficiently prove ownership. All bicycles released are required to be registered prior to their release.
  • Where does the money from the bicycle auction go?
  • All money from the auction goes back to the Bicycle Program and helps create jobs for students. Our student workers are often the ones helping to clear the racks of abandoned bicycles so the campus community can have space to park their bicycles.
  • Can I see the bicycles before I bid?
  • Definitely. You may view the auction inventory on the morning of the auction starting at 7:30am. Viewing ends at 9:00am, just before bidding begins.
  • Can I just buy an abandoned bicycle from TAPS outside of the auction?
  • Unfortunately, no. It is against our policy for us to sell bicycles outright. This is to eliminate the potential for preferential treatment and give everyone a fair and equal opportunity to get a bike.

UC Davis Campus Abandoned Bike Policy

With 15,000 - 20,000 bicycles in use at UC Davis on peak-use days, coupled with the regular "turnover" of the UC Davis population, it's inevitable that over time, some bikes will be abandoned. As the campus has grown, so has the number of bikes increased – both those being used for transportation and those discarded when their owners leave Davis.

Not only do abandoned bicycles represent an eyesore, but they take up valuable bike parking spaces, may present tripping hazards, and most importantly tempt thieves.

TAPS and University Police are authorized to impound abandoned bikes according to the UC Davis Traffic and Parking Code section 7.10(d):

Section 7.10. Removal or Impounding of Bicycles. The UC Davis Police Department and Transportation Services are authorized to move, relocate, immobilize or impound any bicycle which:
d) appears to be abandoned as evidenced by signs of disuse or neglect.

The TAPS Bicycle Program has a variety of procedures to deal with abandoned bicycles. TAPS personnel regularly patrol the campus and impound bicycles that appear to be abandoned. Typically, warning notices are affixed to the bikes in advance of their impoundment. The notice indicates that the bike appears to be abandoned and that the owner has at least 48 hours to remove the bike or correct any deficiencies that identify the bike as possibly being abandoned.

Another technique employed by TAPS is to identify the owners of possibly abandoned bikes through the bicycle registration records. If the owner's e-mail address can be found and is still valid, a message is sent to notify that person that the bike is subject to impound, just as the paper warning notices do.

When a bike is impounded, procedures are followed to determine if the bike has been reported stolen anywhere in California. Additionally, if the bike has been registered with a California Bicycle License, attempts are made to identify and contact the owner. A notice is sent to inform the owner how to recover the bike and it also gives the option of relinquishing claim on the bike, allowing TAPS to dispose of the bike without the restrictions imposed by state law. Notices may be sent electronically, by regular mail or both.

Most unclaimed abandoned bikes go up for public auction, and others are donated to various charitable groups or organizations. TAPS currently holds two general public auctions annually plus occasional eBay® auctions. More information about the auctions is available here.

Students, staff and faculty who no longer want their bicycles are encouraged to remove them from campus property. There are many options for their disposal:

  • If the bike is in reasonably good condition, consider donating it to a local thrift shop.
  • Local bike shops that sell used bikes may also be interested in taking your bike.
  • The Davis Bike Collective ( located at 1221 1/2 4th Street, (near L St.) in Davis, takes many donated bikes for eventual refurbishment or as parts sources.
  • Davis Waste Removal at 2727 2nd Street in Davis has metal recycling bins where you may deposit bikes or metal bike parts any time day or night.

If nothing else, contact TAPS and let us know where your bike is on campus. If you can unlock it in advance of us picking it up, that would be preferred. But if you've lost the key, we can always remove it.

Please don't abandon your bike. Others may find uses for it and your fellow cyclists will appreciate the vacant bike parking space!