You Play to Win
China Rethinking Capital Punishment?

A Modest Proposal to End Love Locking on Bridges Forever

Everywhere you go in Europe, you see eyesores like this:


Ever since some moron decided that attaching pieces of metal to public walkways was a thing, the scourge has proliferated. There are so many locks on the Pont des Arts that its railing partially collapsed last month

Here's my proposed remedy, which I might turn into a kickstarter campaign.

  1. Buy 10-15 bolt cutters. 
  2. Give them to the people who usually root around in public trash cans looking for deposit bottles to redeem for money.
  3. Promise these folks 50 cents for every lock they cut off and return to a central collecting point.
  4. Take the locks to a recycling center.

I bet this would have the entire bridge cleared in days, if not hours. There are lots of bottle collectors out there, they are extremely resourceful and persistent, and they have nothing but time on their hands.

You might ask: is this legal? I am sure it would be under American law. (How about German law? Help me out, readers!). Since the custom is apparently to throw the keys away after attaching the lock, whoever put the locks there has manifested an intention to permanently abandon the property. Or in less legal language, they've decided to throw away the lock in a public place. Which is littering, and is illegal. Removing litter is not only legal, it's a public service.

My proposal kills three birds with one stone: the bridge is cleared, the poor make money, and the metal gets recycled. I think I'll start a kickstarter project for this. Who's with me?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Interestingly enough, a similar case was decided by a court in Cologne a few years ago (AG Köln, Urt. v. 10. 8. 2012 – 526 Ds 395/12, BeckRS 2012, 20013):
Some guys cut the locks off a bridge with a bolt cutter and sold them to a scrap metal merchant.
Result: They got convicted of criminal damage (§ 303 I StGB) and theft (§ 242 StGB).

It was argued by the court that the ownership had remained with the "morons" while the city (as the bridge's owner) obtained the custody over them (as they tolerate them knowingly).
An Abandonment of ownership as per § 959 BGB was denied since the locks were put there to remain there permenantly (eternal love and all) hence the owners were not indifferent to their fate.

So, if the city wishes to remove the locks, it surely can (one could even argue, that the bear toleration of the locks does not necessarily imply that the city does not wish for the locks to be removed: Surely a question that one would have to answer case by case).

Your plan should therefore be carried out with caution and - best - in agreement with the city!


I especially like the idea that in a sense destroys the intention those morons had. The lock for them is a symbol of eternity or eternal love, and some guy with a bolt cutter comes and cracks it. haha


Andrew, that's the best idea in the new millenium!

The comments to this entry are closed.