Careful Where You Lock Those Bikes



Careful Where You Lock Those Bikes

Source: lock.jpgThere have been rumblings online over the past week about who was going around cutting bicycle locks in Providence.  What started as a grassroots effort by Jack Madden, owner of Legend Bicycles, and led to an investigation and article by ecoRI, in which they report:

A call to William Bombard, acting director of the city’s Public Works Department, confirmed what Madden and others had been suspecting. Bombard said that, yes, public works was cutting bike locks in some instances.

and when Bombard was asked why, he replied

One of the staffers from traffic engineering noted locations where bikes were causing damage to signs, so he cut the locks so (the bikes) wouldn’t cause more damage,” Bombard said. “If the sign isn’t that sturdy, or if there’s an excessive number of bikes that are causing the sign to lose its structural integrity, rather than replace the sign, we cut the bike locks.

apparently this only applies to some signs, as

It is legal to lock a bike to a street sign, but cyclists who lock their bikes to damaged or leaning signs may be subject to lock cutting. Bombard said, “bikers should be cognizant of what they’re attaching their bikes to.

So rather than fix ailing infrastructure, apparently it’s now up to cyclists to determine whether the particular sign they are trying to attach their bike to is structurally sound.  Will the city be offering free civil engineering classes for all cyclists?  Should we then extend a similar policy to our motoring brethren?  In this is the case, perhaps we should just continue reducing the weight limits of bridges, with the expectation that motorists will actually head these, rather than bothering to fix the ailing bridges.  This will certainly extend the life of the existing bridges and reduce the long term costs.  I’m sure all will say this is far fetched, but is it not a policy in the much the same vein?

The issue will likely be referred to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission to discuss.  We have a couple of members who sit on this commission, so we should be able to get you some further updates.

1 Comment

  • Labann
    May 2, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Motor centric thinking is pervasive, even among cyclists. Two tag-teamed me on riding two abreast, saying they are embarassed by riders who do and, "Make them look bad." The fine line of the law is that you're not supposed to impede trailing traffic… whether cycling or motoring. But you are otherwise allowed to ride two abreast.

    Not too many cyclists purposefully challenge motorists for lane dominance. Most are aware that tons of steel will crush cyclists most effectively, thus gladly squeeze right. It's when there is no breakdown or parking lane that motorists are inconvenienced by the infrequent presence of cyclists or, even worse, slow moving busses and trucks. Signs are not the best place to lock bike, since you can lift bike over. So where are all the city-provided racks? About the only ones are company provided at mall, behind train terminal, and on campus.

    Meanwhile, they spend $250,000 on infrastructure for motorists for every $1 they spend on cyclists. Bridges are a where they usually ignore cyclists altogether.