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Old 08-21-10, 12:27 AM   #1
vol
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Why is there not a job for watching parked bikes

I've heard some countries have designated bike parking places, where for a negligible small fee people leave their bikes there being watched by someone employed for this job. You never need to spend $70 on a U-lock or chain and still worry your bike will be gone when you come back. Why can't the U.S. do this? It will create job opportunities.
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Old 08-21-10, 12:40 AM   #2
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Some events here in L.A. have 'bike valets'.. like the sunset junction that's this weekend for example. So I guess some places do.. it's not a usual thing though.

not my pic
http://www.flickr.com/photos/windattack/2793534065/
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Old 08-21-10, 12:48 AM   #3
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How nice if it's everywhere! Some retirees can do it for a little extra income yet solve a BIG problem for cyclists. (Understand that Kryptonites will not like it.)
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Old 08-21-10, 12:51 AM   #4
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Personally, I'd trust a U-lock and chain/or cable more than a watchman. No disrespect for security personel but they can't possibly watch the bike the whole time. Thiefs have nothing better to do than just sit and watch for the watchman to leave (take a break, use the restroom or unlock a door for someone).
I used to lock my bike to the rod iron fence of the parking lot at work, right in front of the security window. The security guard made it VERY clear to me that they would watch any bikes and cars the best they can but they are not to be held responsible for anytheft or damage. I eventually found a closet in the office to keep my bike in. It pays to make nice with the building management and/or the cleaning crew.
Ernest

PS: I guess, to answer your question, it's that people don't find it financially wise to pay someone to sit and watch your bike when they can't be held responsible if something gets stolen, it may be a deterent but you're gonna use a U-lock and cable anyway and eventually ask yourself, "Why am I paying this guy?"

Last edited by Big_e; 08-21-10 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 08-21-10, 12:58 AM   #5
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
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Old 08-21-10, 01:11 AM   #6
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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
For real. I took a job as hospital security one time. I wasn't responsible for the cars or parking lot but as a favor to co-workers, I'd watch the cars at nights. Suddenly I'd get paged to go inside and unlock an office for someone and BAAM! It never failed...a car would get broken into. The hospital is across the street from a park and I swear that those kids sat in the park all night watching me.
Ernest
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Old 08-21-10, 03:07 AM   #7
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The University of Arizona has a new bike valet service next to the Nugent Building. Somebody is paid to ensure the bikes' security. Hard to trust it, honestly, but we'll see.
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Old 08-21-10, 06:03 AM   #8
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How nice if it's everywhere! Some retirees can do it for a little extra income yet solve a BIG problem for cyclists. (Understand that Kryptonites will not like it.)
yeah, that'll work out fine. 68 year old man watching a few hundred bikes. no chance there some punk kid will be able to make off with them.

as for the logic of getting out of paying for a lock to have someone watch the bike, well, who's gonna pay the guard? your "nominal fee" will add up to big money quickly. also, are you gonna expect one of these guards everywhere you park? i doubt it. therefore, you're buying a lock, regardless.

if we could ever get the government to actually expect work out of those on the dole, i could maybe see this as something they could do. otherwise it really makes no financial sense.

there are places in the world where the density of cyclists may actually warrant paid bike guards. there might be a place or two in the US where this is the case, such as portland, but, I doubt it.

when it comes to the topic of bike theft, i think the solution has a few parts. first off, think about where you are going to leave it. try to find a place out in the open in plain view. next, get a good lock or maybe two if you have to leave it in questionable areas. and probably most important, don't park at 2000 dollar bike anywhere and expect a chain and lock to guard it for you. there are bazillions of good enough bikes out there on CL to be had for not a whole lot more than the price of a few good locks.
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Old 08-21-10, 07:52 AM   #9
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Because we're too cheap to pay it. That would negate some of the commuting savings - paying for parking.
Our big summer music festival, Summerfest has a fenced, attended bike parking area - but you still need to lock your bike. It's not like a service where they are responsible for your stuff.
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Old 08-21-10, 11:55 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Big_e View Post
Personally, I'd trust a U-lock and chain/or cable more than a watchman. No disrespect for security personel but they can't possibly watch the bike the whole time. Thiefs have nothing better to do than just sit and watch for the watchman to leave (take a break, use the restroom or unlock a door for someone).
It's not like the bikes are just leaning against a wall somewhere. Typically, it's a garage with one entry/exit and the guard sits there. You have to show your ticket to get your bike, but you still lock your bike -- duh -- so no one walks off with it when the guard is taking a leak.

They aren't all that common -- I've only used one in Trier -- but great if you're a tourist and want to leave your loaded bike somewhere while you explore.
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Old 08-21-10, 12:00 PM   #11
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Comments about the small fees adding up in the long term well taken...

Regarding guard being not reliable, there should be one guarded entrance, and only people parking their bikes are allowed. When someone enters, he should either have his bike to park, or have his ticket to pick up his bike. The "valet" brings him to his bike and watches him leave. No chance for stealing someone else's bike (or bike parts).

Last edited by vol; 08-22-10 at 09:01 PM.
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Old 08-21-10, 02:27 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by bhop View Post
Some events here in L.A. have 'bike valets'.. like the sunset junction that's this weekend for example. So I guess some places do.. it's not a usual thing though.

not my pic
http://www.flickr.com/photos/windattack/2793534065/
The LACBC host bike valets all over the county but they are on a voluntary basis. I volunteered at Sunset Junction some years ago and there were a lot of bikes brought in amongst the young crowd. If enough people rode bikes, it would be nice for someone to watch over them as people shop. That would be much better than one of those silly WC attendants who throw down a paper towel expecting a tip.
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Old 08-21-10, 03:23 PM   #13
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The costs associated with having service people available at all times to watch the parked bikes add up pretty quickly. Works for specific large events where there will be lots of cyclists in attendance and the event is for a limited time period, but not so well where you may have a few cyclists coming and going 24/7. Electronically controlled bike lockers are another alternative:
http://www.bikelink.org/
These have been installed in many of the transit locations in our area and cost $0.03/hr to use. More secure than using an individual lock and also protects all components on the bike as well as panniers and other belongings.
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Old 08-21-10, 09:41 PM   #14
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To those who said having someone guarding your bike is no better than just locking your bike: it is much better: Can you imagine a thief spending several minutes sawing/cutting through a U-lock or chain lock under watch? (I need a bike thief smilie).

About cost: how about 5 cents/hour?
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Old 08-22-10, 12:06 AM   #15
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That sort of thing is very common here. In fact if you lock your bike away from a place that is attended, it will vanish.

Typical pay is 0.5 RMB, or about 1/14 of a US$.

Never had a problem leaving my bike with those people.

Am about to go out and about for the day, will see if I can get a pic.

z
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Old 08-22-10, 03:31 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Lot's Knife View Post
The University of Arizona has a new bike valet service next to the Nugent Building. Somebody is paid to ensure the bikes' security. Hard to trust it, honestly, but we'll see.
Here is a link to the story about the UA's bike valet. (Full disclosure: It is my website)
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