Neistat Brothers: The Ethics of Stealing a Bike Mar 8, 2010

The Neistat Brothers are no strangers to discussing bicycle theft in NYC. They put out a short edit in 2007 showing how easy it was to steal a bike from public space in Manhattan. Last year, at the WNW space, artist Tom Sachs led a discussion on the Ethics of Stolen Bikes. Sachs laid out the same 2-part rule as the Neistat Brothers are here, stating that there are two kinds of bikes in this world; nobody’s bike and somebody’s bike. Here, Casey Neistat goes over this rule in depth.

Watch it and discuss it below.

The Ethics of Stolen Bikes
Tom Sachs: Stealing Bikes

  • Dude that was totally my bike. and I want it back right now.

  • I never really thought I’d be OK with Bike theft but I think he sold me.

  • Dape

    First off, that’s a great video. Very entertaining. But there seems to be a Catch-22 here. I mean really, who wants that piece of sh*t bike he “stole” anyway. It seems by Neistat’s standard that most bikes that are Ok to “steal” are probably not worth having anyway. That’s why they’re nobody’s bike. Cause they’re not worth owning. When’s the last time anyone saw a decent track bike abandoned and rotting on the street like that?

  • Here in The Netherlands the government takes away bikes that are “nobody bikes”, mostly they do this on trainstations. Just to “clean” it.

    So if the priority is cleaning, and done by government company’s it’s allright by me.

    They can store them for 1 year, so if it’s owner wants it back or something. Or they can use it for reintegration projects, like ex-drugaddicts who repair bicycles to get work in the community again.

  • Ribs

    While I ‘get’ what he means, no person can make the decision to ethically relieve a post or rack of a bike that belongs to ‘nobody’. There is no way to know who it does or doesn’t belong to. Sure, maybe it hasn’t been touched in months, or even years. But, if it exists – even in the shabbiest of forms – it’s owned by someone.

  • sevem

    Dape :
    Some people out there would be thrilled to get this bike when restored. Stole some of these nobody’s bikes, threw on a few bucks and elbow grease and made myself a good polo bike, my woman a mountain bike for the local trail and gave some other people a mean of transportation (forementioned woman is a social worker).
    Track bikes are gazillions years away for some people’s realities and struggles. Don’t forget it.

  • In my small city on Lake Superior bike theft happens because someone is drunk, lazy, or needs to get somewhere and there’s a bike unlocked at the top of the hill and you need to get to the bottom of the hill. I always find good bikes at the bottom of the hill on the lakewalk. The good ones though always look like they have been in an accident.
    If these bikes weren’t removed by bikers, the local police would bring them to the bike collective anyway.

  • Jae

    Agreed >> I manage parking ramps and lots in downtown Minneapolis. Each year our maintenence recovers 50+ bikes that belong to “nobody” Usually these bikes have flats/bent rims/rusty chains and have been locked up for awhile. Alot of these bikes are stolen and then abandoned by the dude who stole them >>>> I then wrench any usable parts for my own usage and trash the rest or give to re-cycle. Don’t steal bikes!! or maybe a couple of 150 pound ‘posengers’ might try and beat you down…