DDeutsche Bahn auctioned off hundreds of forgotten bicycles last year. “In our 5,400 railway stations, an estimated 2,700 bicycles are lost every year,” explained a Deutsche Bahn spokesperson when asked by the German Press Agency. About half are sold at auction after a storage period of at least ten weeks.

At an on-site auction, for example in Berlin-Lichtenberg, the price of the bike depends on the type and condition of the bike. Average auction proceeds are 60 euros per bike, according to a spokesperson. However, there are already e-bikes at auctions in various cities, the bids of which exceeded the 300 euro mark.

Previous owners are entitled to receive income for three years

“Profits from each bike are initially retained,” the spokesperson explained. If the previous owners come forward within three years of the auction, they are entitled to the proceeds, which are then paid out to them. Otherwise, “the money raised will be used to fund the management of the lost property,” the spokesman said. The large amount of lost property and the management of lost property such as processing, storage, return to the owner and recycling are associated with high costs.

Nationwide, passengers lose around 250,000 items every year in Deutsche Bahn railway stations and trains. That's almost 700 forgotten things every day. These included everyday items such as mobile phones, as well as curiosities such as dentures, wedding dresses and referees' robes. According to Deutsche Bahn, on average 60 percent of items can be returned to their owners, “even up to 90 percent in high-quality product groups such as laptops.”

Anyone who has lost track of their bike can prove that it is their own bike by providing certain characteristics and identifying features of the bike, such as the make and color and the location where it was found. The frame number does not necessarily need to be mentioned. The railway has more than 80 places nationwide.

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