Photographer:Fotograaf: Simone Golob
Behind the Status
Hi everyone! Yesterday my bike got stolen from the inner city library. Contact me if you see it!
On the Facebook group Stolen Bikes Maastricht, messages like this one are posted almost daily. Yutaro Fujiyama, who was on exchange in Maastricht a year ago to study European Studies, decided the city needed a group to fight this problem. “I remember eating dinner with my friends when the talk turned to bike theft. Everybody says it’s a normal thing in a student city which you can’t really avoid, but they still complain and feel sad about it. The next day I saw there was no page or group for this problem, so I started one.”
If your bike gets stolen, you can report this to the Facebook group. “But you need to have a photo of your bike, otherwise it’s hard to really explain what it looks like. You post the picture of your bike and information about when and where it was stolen, then share the picture and hope somebody sees it on the street.”
The group now also features a poll on how bikes are stolen. “We want to collect data on the circumstances”, says Fujiyama. “That way, we can give tips on how to prevent theft. We now know that a lot of bikes are stolen because they’re not locked to something else. Just locking your bike isn’t enough.” The group has now existed for a year and in that time six bikes have been returned to their rightful owners. “But this group can only work if it gets more members. If more people are aware of stolen bikes, we increase the chance of them being returned.”
At the moment, Fujiyama is back in Japan (where his bike, ironically, got stolen), but he’s still very enthusiastic about the page he started in Maastricht. “I’ve got someone else working with me who’s actually in Maastricht. However, I’d like to come back and work on the problem myself.”