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  1. #1
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    Legality of locking bicycles to signs and trees on the sidewalk?

    Hello everyone,

    Been lurking a while, this is my first post. Please let me know if I've got the wrong forum.

    I live in a Chicago apartment building without enough bicycle rack for all the tenants bicycles. I see enough front wheels and sometimes even back wheels locked up without their frames that I wouldn't trust self-locking. So I lock to a tree growing out of the sidewalk.

    Today my landlord has put up notices warning us that they plan to cut all the bicycles off railings, fences, street signs, trees, etc. I can believe that a man is within his rights to cut people's bicycles off his own stairs, but sign poles and trees on the sidewalk seem outside his property.

    Does the forum have any advice for keeping my bicycle locked up? I'd prefer to keep my bicycle locked up rather than seek legal recourse after the fact.

  2. #2
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    check the city's website, as well as the state's; there should be a link to find applicable law. Takes some searching, but is well worth it, since you'd have to pay a lawyer's time otherwise. Also, see if there's a link to e-mail someone in the mayor's office. They can at least point you in the right direction for a city office to provide information or help.

  3. #3
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    For the fun of it, lock a beater to a streetsign(not his property), camp out with a camcorder. And call the cops about seeing it getting stolen...

    Or seeing as how this is just a cranky landlord, I doubt he's got angle grinders set up, probably just going to use bolt cutters... Anyone know what locks will withstand bolt cutters? Use two.

  4. #4
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I thought Chicago is reputed to have a bicycle-friendly mayor. Contact city government and find out what your rights are. You might also ask the landlord to provide additional bike racks, on the grounds that greater parking capacity is clearly needed.

    In San Diego we did have a downtown hotel which told bicyclists they could not lock up to signposts in the public right-of-way in front of their main entrance.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  5. #5
    Senior Member kingfish254's Avatar
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    You can get the Kyptonite lock for $65 from ebay. Bolt cutters cannot get this baby.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/KRYPTONITE-3-3-N...3A1%7C294%3A50
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by John E View Post
    You might also ask the landlord to provide additional bike racks, on the grounds that greater parking capacity is clearly needed.
    I'd start with that, especially if you can get together with other tenants who need space to park their bicycles. If there are enough of you it might even be reasonable to share in the cost of the racks with the landlord. It would be good to find out what the objection to the bikes is currently and why additional racks haven't already been installed given the evident need for them.

    The Illinois code has the following section:
    "(625 ILCS 5/11‑1513) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑1513)
    Sec. 11‑1513. Bicycle parking. (a) A person may park a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited or restricted by an official traffic‑control device.
    (b) A bicycle parked on a sidewalk shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic.
    (c) A bicycle may be parked on the roadway at any angle to the curb or edge of the roadway at any location where parking is allowed.
    (d) A bicycle may be parked on the roadway abreast of another bicycle or bicycles near the side of the roadway at any location where parking is allowed.
    (e) A person shall not park a bicycle on a roadway in such a manner as to obstruct the movement of a legally parked motor vehicle.
    (f) In all other respects, bicycles parked anywhere on a highway shall conform with the provisions of this Code regulating the parking of vehicles. "

    Don't know what Chicago municipal ordinances there might be concerning bike parking.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    I'd start with that, especially if you can get
    together with other tenants who need space to park their bicycles. If
    there are enough of you it might even be reasonable to share in the cost
    of the racks with the landlord. It would be good to find out what the
    objection to the bikes is currently and why additional racks haven't
    already been installed given the evident need for them.
    As I understand it, two companies run all the apartments in this
    neighborhood: the one has a near monopoly and therefore gets away with
    ramshackle buildings, desultory maintenance, and accidentally evicting
    the wrong people because of bureaucratic mishaps; the other gets away
    with being almost as bad because the alternative is in fact worse. I'm
    signed on with the better one. Like my neighbors, I'm a poor college
    student who expects to move away in one or two years. It's not a
    situation which encourages people to sink money into capital
    investments.

    That doesn't mean I won't print out some posters tomorrow and knock on a
    few of my neighbors' doors, but I'm not hopeful about this approach.

    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    The Illinois code has the following section:
    "(625 ILCS 5/11‑1513) (from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11‑1513)
    Sec. 11‑1513. Bicycle parking. (a) A person may park a bicycle on a sidewalk unless prohibited or restricted by an official traffic‑control device.
    (b) A bicycle parked on a sidewalk shall not impede the normal and reasonable movement of pedestrian or other traffic.
    (c) A bicycle may be parked on the roadway at any angle to the curb or edge of the roadway at any location where parking is allowed.
    (d) A bicycle may be parked on the roadway abreast of another bicycle or bicycles near the side of the roadway at any location where parking is allowed.
    (e) A person shall not park a bicycle on a roadway in such a manner as to obstruct the movement of a legally parked motor vehicle.
    (f) In all other respects, bicycles parked anywhere on a highway shall conform with the provisions of this Code regulating the parking of vehicles. "

    Don't know what Chicago municipal ordinances there might be concerning bike parking.
    Retrieved from
    http://www.chicagobikes.org/bikelaws/index.php?show=search&chapter=2&b=chi:

    9-52-070 Parking

    No person shall park a bicycle upon a street other than upon the roadway
    against the curb or upon the sidewalk against a rack, parking meter or
    sign pole to support the bicycle or against a building or at the curb in
    such manner as to afford the least obstruction to pedestrian traffic.

    Added Coun. J. 7-12-90, p. 18634; Amend Coun. J. 7-21-04, p. 28659,
    1
    Both of these are going on the poster. Thank you for finding the first
    and inspiring me to find the second.

    As an alternative assuming I will neither be permitted to lock my bike
    outside or be able to find space on the racks, could anyone with
    construction experience advise me on constructing a makeshift bike rack?
    I was thinking of screwing together PVC piping into a U-shape, filling
    it with concrete, and then sinking the ends into two milk crates full of
    concrete. I'm worried about leaving air spaces in the piping, since the
    PVC shell will be easily cut, and whether the structure will be able to
    support its own weight. I'd rather construct a stand of inferior quality
    because, being a poor college student, I can't really afford to buy and
    ship a commercial stand.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by damonwang View Post
    I was thinking of screwing together PVC piping into a U-shape, filling
    it with concrete, and then sinking the ends into two milk crates full of
    concrete. I'm worried about leaving air spaces in the piping, since the
    PVC shell will be easily cut, and whether the structure will be able to
    support its own weight. I'd rather construct a stand of inferior quality
    because, being a poor college student, I can't really afford to buy and
    ship a commercial stand.
    That design sounds like it could easily be broken with a sledgehammer, cracks the concrete core, and then the pvc is just brittle on its own.

    I think you're better off bringing the bike inside your apartment with you.

  9. #9
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    OP, i think xenologer is correct. Homemade bike racks are fairly easy to break. Besides, you landlord may not want the eye sore.

    But his second sentence would probably be a perfect solution. There are quite a few options for storing the bike indoors without taking up a lot of floor space.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shavit View Post
    There are quite a few options for storing the bike indoors without taking up a lot of floor space.
    Considering your landlord has taken away your outdoor parking options, I think screwing a pair of bike hooks into the ceiling of your entryway is fair turnabout. (just spackle over the holes if you ever move)

  11. #11
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    I can't speak for Chicago but in Baltimore adjacent property owners have a say in what happens next to their property, to what extent I really don't know but I do know the city has to get permission before they install a bike rack at any location (we install ~200 bike racks a year.)

    Anyway it would not hurt getting your local bicycle advocacy organization involved in this issue.
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  12. #12
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Human Car View Post
    I can't speak for Chicago but in Baltimore adjacent property owners have a say in what happens next to their property, to what extent I really don't know but I do know the city has to get permission before they install a bike rack at any location (we install ~200 bike racks a year.)

    Anyway it would not hurt getting your local bicycle advocacy organization involved in this issue.
    I know here in San Diego there have been issues with just parking a bike "anywhere," one of the local larger hotels had bikes removed from signposts near their front entrance... much to the shock of the commuting cyclists. There were no bike racks nearby and bike racks downtown are rare. Lots of auto parking... at curbs and in structures and lots... but bikes... not so much.

  13. #13
    "Per Ardua ad Surly" nelson249's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    Considering your landlord has taken away your outdoor parking options, I think screwing a pair of bike hooks into the ceiling of your entryway is fair turnabout. (just spackle over the holes if you ever move)

    +1

    That is I would do. I used to keep my good road bike between my bed and the wall as there was no way I was going to leave it locked up outside anywhere.
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  14. #14
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nelson249 View Post
    +1

    That is I would do. I used to keep my good road bike between my bed and the wall as there was no way I was going to leave it locked up outside anywhere.
    Same here.

    At another different apartment I used to keep my bike and my wife's bike on the staircase from the front door to the upstairs apartment... we were the only ones that used the stairs so there were no issues with us. The hand rail held on to the drop bars perfectly.

    Right now I have my favorite bike in the living room, and the others in the garage...

    Seems like there has always been a bike in the house.

  15. #15
    Senior Member sggoodri's Avatar
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    I've always chosen ground level apartment (or close) to avoid lugging a bike up a lot of stairs.

    Where that's not possible, I recommend working with the landlord to install bike parking in a reasonable location.

    Here in Cary, NC, we have a new ordinance that required bike parking to be provided at new apartment developments and significantly redeveloped ones.

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    I live on the second floor, and because the landlord has forbidden us to carry bicycles up the front stairs I would have to bring my bicycle through a back alley and up the fire escape. It's a steel frame dating from the 80s when Ross Bicycles was still in business, probably 30lbs, and more than I want to manhandle up a fire escape. So I would prefer to store the bicycle outside. It's actually quite a pity, because there's a pantry right off the back door that would just fit my bicycle turned vertically and hung from one wheel, I think.

    On the other hand, these signs have been up two days now and I haven't seen anybody's lock cut, so maybe this will blow over.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by damonwang View Post
    I live on the second floor, and because the landlord has forbidden us to carry bicycles up the front stairs I would have to bring my bicycle through a back alley and up the fire escape.
    The guy's already being a d*ck about the street signs (which he probably has no jurisdiction over) so I'd just carry that bike right up the front door and tell him he can piss off, or let me lock it up outside as usual. Seriously, he won't let you take it in, won't let you park on the signposts, and doesn't provide a designated bike rack? He's being unreasonable and you can tell him so.


    Quote Originally Posted by damonwang View Post
    It's a steel frame dating from the 80s when Ross Bicycles was still in business, probably 30lbs, and more than I want to manhandle up a fire escape. So I would prefer to store the bicycle outside. It's actually quite a pity, because there's a pantry right off the back door that would just fit my bicycle turned vertically and hung from one wheel, I think.

    On the other hand, these signs have been up two days now and I haven't seen anybody's lock cut, so maybe this will blow over.
    See part 1 about avoiding the fire escape. Mines 40lbs and taking the stairs up 3 floors is no big deal, most cyclists could use the upper body workout.

  18. #18
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    Uh, damonwang? Is there something in your lease that says you can't take bikes up the stairs? His word alone, landlord or not, can't override that.

  19. #19
    Senior Member gcottay's Avatar
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    Your bike belongs indoors.
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