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Old 12-06-13, 07:54 PM   #1
gpsblake
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55 bicycles confiscated by Charleston SC Police for illegal parking

Charleston also requires bicycles to be registered and decaled. Now they are cracking down on illegal bicycle parking on King Street. However, I do agree with the crackdown on illegal parking. Charleston spent countless $1,000s of dollars putting in bicycle racks and corrals to crack down on all the bikes chaining themselves to poles and trees blocking sidewalks and even making it hard to enter businesses.

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Old 12-06-13, 08:21 PM   #2
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Do they break the locks on illegally parked cars and impound them as well? If so, then I don't have a problem with their enforcement. If not, then it appears to just be a way to harass cyclists.
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Old 12-06-13, 08:42 PM   #3
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They should have put up signs about the new ordinance. It looks like a great many cyclists were surprised when the ordinance was enforced. They can (and should) challenge this in court.
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Old 12-06-13, 08:49 PM   #4
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Do they break the locks on illegally parked cars and impound them as well? If so, then I don't have a problem with their enforcement. If not, then it appears to just be a way to harass cyclists.
I've had my car towed in Charleston.
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Old 12-06-13, 08:52 PM   #5
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Signage should have been posted, you don't change on street auto parking to no parking and announce it anywhere but the location where it applies. It appears it is more lucrative to confiscate the bike and hold it hostage.
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Old 12-06-13, 09:20 PM   #6
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I've had my car towed in Charleston.
Was there a sign? And if it had been damaged during towing, the city/tow company would have to pay up. Any cyclist getting the cost of their lock covered?
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Old 12-06-13, 09:23 PM   #7
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Do they break the locks on illegally parked cars and impound them as well? If so, then I don't have a problem with their enforcement. If not, then it appears to just be a way to harass cyclists.
There's a real issue of failure to inform. Cities put up permanent signs saying where parking isn't allowed. Putting it on a facebook page, and a media press release is totally inadequate.

They had another option which was to put warning reminders on bikes during an introduction period.

At the very least, this approach was high handed and totally improper in a civil society.
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Old 12-06-13, 10:11 PM   #8
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There's a real issue of failure to inform. Cities put up permanent signs saying where parking isn't allowed. Putting it on a facebook page, and a media press release is totally inadequate.

They had another option which was to put warning reminders on bikes during an introduction period.

At the very least, this approach was high handed and totally improper in a civil society.
Which points to some other motive by police/city manager/mayor.

City Councilman Mike Seekings should cover the cost for all the initial tickets and locks caused by his poorly written and executed law.
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Old 12-06-13, 10:29 PM   #9
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Which points to some other motive by police/city manager/mayor.

City Councilman Mike Seekings should cover the cost for all the initial tickets and locks caused by his poorly written and executed law.
I don't know that there was an agenda. Just a certain statist arrogance, and disrespect for the public a large. Even if they correct then initial issue, there's always the issue of what happens when an unitiated out of towner bikes in and has no way of know where and where not to leave his bicycle.

I tend to be a no harm-no foul guy, and wonder if city provided bike racks are necessary, but I don't live there so it's not my issue. Just play fair and put up the necessary signs. BTW- while bicyclists are expected to pony up $45.00, I wonder what auto parking tickets run.
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Old 12-06-13, 10:42 PM   #10
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And if the rest of the bike racks are like the one in front of the police station, I would not be locking my bicycle to that wheel bender, regardless.
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Old 12-06-13, 11:35 PM   #11
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Do they break the locks on illegally parked cars and impound them as well? If so, then I don't have a problem with their enforcement. If not, then it appears to just be a way to harass cyclists.
It is harassment. Because, Police usually only tow when vehicles are parked in a 'No Parking Zone' and/or, after several tickets on the same vehicle not being moved after the first ticket.
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Old 12-06-13, 11:37 PM   #12
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I don't know that there was an agenda. Just a certain statist arrogance, and disrespect for the public a large. Even if they correct then initial issue, there's always the issue of what happens when an unitiated out of towner bikes in and has no way of know where and where not to leave his bicycle.

I tend to be a no harm-no foul guy, and wonder if city provided bike racks are necessary, but I don't live there so it's not my issue. Just play fair and put up the necessary signs. BTW- while bicyclists are expected to pony up $45.00, I wonder what auto parking tickets run.
Since they are only vandalizing the property of a small subset of the public, cyclists, this is not a case of disrespect for the public at large. It is targeted to a small group. Where's that all-powerful bike lobby when you need it?
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Old 12-07-13, 01:44 AM   #13
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Time to pack up your bicycle and move elsewhere, I hope they arent on a list of bicycle friendly cities.
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Old 12-07-13, 02:10 AM   #14
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And if it had been damaged during towing, the city/tow company would have to pay up.
In a perfect world, perhaps. In the real world, the government enjoys a large degree of immunity to citizen lawsuits and generally takes advantage of that ("shouldn't have parked there, it's your fault"), and the tow company would say "it must have been like that before we towed it" and force you to sue them, where it turns into a "he said, she said" situation. And that assumes that the government immunity (if it applies -- it doesn't always) doesn't also protect them when acting as an agent for the government.

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BTW- while bicyclists are expected to pony up $45.00, I wonder what auto parking tickets run.
Of course, the analogy would be that the cars were towed, not a ticket. And a towed car is generally a lot more than $45. That said, as others have mentioned, normally cars aren't immediately towed unless they're parked in a highly disruptive area. Instead, they're ticketed, and maybe booted or towed if there's a lot of unpaid tickets.

But any situation that requires the towing of 55 vehicles at the same time strongly suggests a very poor job of making the rules clear on the part of the government.

I guess they "towed" the bikes (ruining the locks, which increases the price) because they don't have a way of ticketing the owners otherwise. But a sane city could put notices on them first and make sure people knew the (new?) rules.
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Old 12-07-13, 03:50 AM   #15
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In a perfect world, perhaps. In the real world, the government enjoys a large degree of immunity to citizen lawsuits and generally takes advantage of that ("shouldn't have parked there, it's your fault"), and the tow company would say "it must have been like that before we towed it" and force you to sue them, where it turns into a "he said, she said" situation. And that assumes that the government immunity (if it applies -- it doesn't always) doesn't also protect them when acting as an agent for the government.
I am sure that is true in texas, which seems to be the only place you know anything about. But in other states, some governments have a reasonable process for settling claims. Hawaii even pays for damage caused by pot holes. The fastest way for a tow company to end a government contract for towing is to have a lot of unpaid claims rolling past the tow company to the government.

But texas governments probably like getting lots of damage claims because of bad tow companies.
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Old 12-07-13, 06:57 AM   #16
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They should have put up signs about the new ordinance. It looks like a great many cyclists were surprised when the ordinance was enforced. They can (and should) challenge this in court.
I suspect that with any new ordinance, even though well publicized, less than 20% of folks get the word. In this case, it appears from my searching a bit, that this ban was announced in many ways as early as the first week in October.

I think the PD should have initiated their enforcement action with a note left on the bike, but nevertheless, folks should have known.
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Old 12-07-13, 07:22 AM   #17
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The town I live in in South Florida is also having a bit of an issue with bikes being locked to poles, lamps, trees, fences etc. When 3 or 4 people locks their bikes to a sign post on sidewalk, typically next to a bus stop, it does cause a hazard for pedestrians. The city is not taking bikes yet, but it's an issue that keeps coming up and there are a few signs that tell people not to lock bikes to this post. Mostly in parks and things like parking meters.

Private property owners have been known to cut locks and remove bikes that are locked to private fences, posts etc.
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Old 12-07-13, 07:58 AM   #18
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Cyclist need to ban together and inform the stores and businesses in that area they they will no longer do business with the stores in that area.
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Old 12-07-13, 08:05 AM   #19
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Cyclist need to band together and inform the stores and businesses in that area they they will no longer do business with the stores in that area.
FIFY.

Why put it on the businesses? It's the cyclists problem and they should address it directly to the law and policymakers rather than pass the buck to people running business.
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Old 12-07-13, 08:13 AM   #20
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I suspect that with any new ordinance, even though well publicized, less than 20% of folks get the word. In this case, it appears from my searching a bit, that this ban was announced in many ways as early as the first week in October.

I think the PD should have initiated their enforcement action with a note left on the bike, but nevertheless, folks should have known.
Why couldn't the city have put up signs about the new cycling ordinance? They do so for cars.
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Old 12-07-13, 09:45 AM   #21
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The town I live in in South Florida is also having a bit of an issue with bikes being locked to poles, lamps, trees, fences etc. When 3 or 4 people locks their bikes to a sign post on sidewalk, typically next to a bus stop, it does cause a hazard for pedestrians. The city is not taking bikes yet, but it's an issue that keeps coming up and there are a few signs that tell people not to lock bikes to this post. Mostly in parks and things like parking meters.

Private property owners have been known to cut locks and remove bikes that are locked to private fences, posts etc.
what is the hazard? people dont see the bike and fall over them? lol give me a break..some people hate bikes, they have envy, attitudes if they dont like to bike, nobody should bike. I ride my bike to a couple of suburban detroit cities, to antique flea markets or farmers markets or just to the downtown to have coffee.

There are bikes all over chained to fences posts and whatever,,looks kewl to me. Nobody minds.
In Detroit when they have the once a month critical mass, there is usually a couple of police cars blocking off the start to cars and wishing every one to have a good time and ride safe over their speakers. Sometimes well over a thousand bicyclists.

I wouldnt spend my money or support a city that feels it needs to fine bicyclists or harrass them in anyway, who needs it,,there are many many many bicycle friendly cities,,who needs the city of Charleston.
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Old 12-07-13, 09:52 AM   #22
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The problem is that the bikes block sidewalks and businesses. Sure, there was plenty of room at 7:30am when the rider locked up the bike to the sign post, but at noon when a lot of people get out on lunch, bikes sometimes block the sidewalks so pedestrians can;t walk by or restaurants cannot put out their sidewalk tables and chairs for the lunch rush customers. The restaurants pay a fee to be able to use some sidewalk space for serving lunch, but at least around where i live, bikes are not supposed to be on sidewalks.

Even though I enjoy avid bike riding, I would never think to lock my bike to the fence or mailbox of a private home owner.
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Old 12-07-13, 09:58 AM   #23
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The problem is that the bikes block sidewalks and businesses. Sure, there was plenty of room at 7:30am when the rider locked up the bike to the sign post, but at noon when a lot of people get out on lunch, bikes sometimes block the sidewalks so pedestrians can;t walk by or restaurants cannot put out their sidewalk tables and chairs for the lunch rush customers. The restaurants pay a fee to be able to use some sidewalk space for serving lunch, but at least around where i live, bikes are not supposed to be on sidewalks.

Even though I enjoy avid bike riding, I would never think to lock my bike to the fence or mailbox of a private home owner.
Very reasonable and excellent post. I think we cyclists need to look at all aspects of cycling and how we impact everyone. What's funny is many of the same posters that see nothing wrong about parking a bicycle on a crowded sidewalk are the ones that complain about not being able to use a full lane of traffic. Either a bicycle is a vehicle or it isn't.
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Old 12-07-13, 10:22 AM   #24
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Very reasonable and excellent post. I think we cyclists need to look at all aspects of cycling and how we impact everyone. What's funny is many of the same posters that see nothing wrong about parking a bicycle on a crowded sidewalk are the ones that complain about not being able to use a full lane of traffic. Either a bicycle is a vehicle or it isn't.
Ride your bicycle through Ann Arbor Michigan, there are bicycles chained everywhere, nobody gets a ticket, nobody falls over the bikes, nobody is prevented from entering a business, give me a break with this crap. These bicycles chained everywhere represent,persons shopping, eating, drinking coffee, visting the doctor,,all spending money. They are welcomed in cities like Ann Arbor where the city councilman and councilwoman dont have broomsticks up their you know whats.

Taking an entire lane in most cities in America is ludicrous and asking for trouble. Maybe New York and Portland are exceptions. One thing has nothing to do with the other.
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Old 12-07-13, 10:49 AM   #25
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And if the rest of the bike racks are like the one in front of the police station, I would not be locking my bicycle to that wheel bender, regardless.

Agree, looks like some at the police department are using their memories of childhood school days long past, for what should pass as bicycle parking..... like everyone is still using coaster rear brakes similar to the bike depicted in the photo.
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