Missing bikes: Don’t lock it there!


Bike Locked to Street SignThe 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

5 Responses to " Missing bikes: Don’t lock it there! "

  1. JW says:

    I always lock my bike to things like that! Often the spaces on bike racks are all taken…or, there are simply no bike racks. I find this a challenging part of being a cyclist in this city actually.

  2. KitsilanoRat says:

    As you can see in the photo, there is no bike racks.

  3. LJ says:

    The city is caught with it’s pants down. I am not a cyclist but this is a no brainer. The city spends millions on bike lanes to encourage enviornmentally friendly transportation. And then….the city files away at bike locks to remove bikes posted to city signs. And….where are the bike racks? Who would know that precious (and sometimes expensive) bikes would be removed and after 30 days given to charity. Go figure people!

  4. GregEh says:

    Only in Kitsilano would someone report this. Anywhere else they just languish for months.

  5. S. Morris Rose says:

    The comment “Only in Kitsilano would someone report this” is just cruel. Up here in West Point Grey we *also* report trivial infractions like this. Typically, the bikes belong to the UBC students to whom we rent our tiny, storage-challenged basement suites. Give… us… our… due!

    I’d like to see the by-law amended to only apply to areas where there are unoccupied slots in bike racks within a reasonable distance of the parked bike *and* where there is an actual impediment to pedestrians. Let’s guess that it costs the city… $100? to send a worker to grind off a lock and transport the bike.