The Vancouver Courier recently reported about a cyclist whose bike went missing despite being locked up. Sadly, that’s not an unusual occurrence in Vancouver. What is unusual, however, is that after checking with the police, then Craigslist, pawn shops, and bike stores she saw a city worker grinding a lock off a bike that was locked to a city road sign.
The article quotes Chris Dodd, a superintendent at the city’s streets operations branch, as saying that the city only removes bikes from signs if there have been complaints from residents, and usually the bikes are those that have been stripped of parts. The woman who witnessed the city worker grinding off the lock, Nadine McDonnell, is justifiably concerned about the city stealing bikes.
This is a complicated issue – the city has a responsibility to ensure public safety by removing hazards on city property and bike frames that have been locked to signs and subsequently stripped are obviously hazards. However, the process seems open to abuse. How many non-stripped bikes are being removed? How many complaints does it take to get a bike removed? How long must a bike be in place before the city will remove it? How does the city ensure that the bike that they’re removing is the one that a complaint was made about?
Dodd notes that any bikes removed by the city are held at their facility 701 National Ave. for 30 days before being donated to charity.
Do you lock your bike to city signs? Ever seen a city worker removing a bike? Will this practice change your bike-locking habits?
Last modified: October 9, 2011