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  1. #1
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    Chicago laws for parking in bike racks

    Ok everyone-

    This morning, I had a huge fight with a couple on a 50 cc motor scooter who took up our bike spaces (and it is LIMITED PARKING out there right now too!). They claimed it was not against the law for them to park in the bike rack on the sidewalk, but when I called our police non-emergency, the police at first said it was illegal in the City of Chicago, but after the cop came, he claimed it was NOT illegal, and it was the discretion of the property owneres to permit the scooter on the sidewalk to park.

    The other property owners told me to write a letter to the property managers, but in the meantime, I needed to find the law for 50 cc motor scooters parking on sidewalks and in bike racks.

    The only reason why I am so upset is because the property managers REMOVED a majority of the bike racks (which only really accomodate 2 bikes per rack) for asthetic reasons- and now they're sujecting us to even more ridiculous and cramped conditions by allowing the motor scooter to park in our spots. On any given day, there are up to 6 bikes haphazardly locked to two small sticks protruding out of the sidewalk. This is ridiculous.

    Anyone that can help me here- that would be great. I wasted an hour and a half waiting for an answer this morning from law enforcement, only to deal with the we-don't-care-and-we-can't-bother-to-get-involved attitude. I now have to go to work, and I really want to get this letter out of the way before the end of the day today so the matter can be resolved.

    I politely tried to explain to the motor scooter people that they take up the space of up to 3 bikes, and that our parking is limited enough already. Their response? "We don't care. All we know is that management gave us permission, and we're going to continue parking here".

    @ssholes.

    All right... gotta get going to work!

    Koffee

  2. #2
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    A medium sized ice-pick to the rear wheels will prevent all future scooter parking...j/k
    Sorry to hear about the problem. However I can't really help.

  3. #3
    Speed Racer Mad Dog JR's Avatar
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    That's lame !
    I say make a hole on the gas tank so when they leave they have hardly any fuel to get home but thats coming from a 17 year old kid so...
    -Full speed ahead,Hard and fast!
    -You've always got to keep on trying, if you don't try you'll only fail!

  4. #4
    FOG
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    The solution is not fewer scooters, but more bike racks.

  5. #5
    DEADBEEF khuon's Avatar
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    Can you take your bike inside with you?
    1999 K2 OzM 2001 Aegis Aro Svelte OCP Club Member
    "Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you send." -- Jon Postel, RFC1122

  6. #6
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    You're absolutely right FOG. I was kidding.

  7. #7
    Its a Lemming thing... jester69's Avatar
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    Well,

    here is the IL law on bicycles:

    http://www.legis.state.il.us/legisla...5act5Sub66.htm

    in there it says:
    "(a) A person may park a bicycle on
    a sidewalk unless prohibited or restricted by an official
    traffic-control device."

    Now, I am not a lawyer, and this isn't legal advice.

    The crux here, is the definition of that motor scooter. Is it a (motorized) bicycle, or a motorcycle?

    If its a motor vehicle, parked on a sidewalk in the city of Chicago then this would apply:

    09-64-110(d) Park or Stand on Sidewalk $50.00

    which I found here:
    http://www.ci.chi.il.us/Revenue/Park...iolations.html

    "motorized bicycle" here in MO defined as anything under 50cc with under a certain top speed. the IL laws I looked at seemed to hint that to be a motorized bicycle there it has to have pedals.

    I tried to find the IL law on what exactly the line is between a motor vehicle and a bicycle but couldn't find anything better than this:

    http://moped2.org/plates.txt

    So, hope that helped a tad? If it were me and the thing had plates, i'd try to get an officer to write a ticket for the above infraction and let the owner of the vehicle argue in court whats a vehicle and what isnt. If it didn't have plates, i'm not sure what i'd do.

    take care,

    Steve

    EDIT: found this too http://moped2.org/mstates.htm#il which says they must have plates, insurance, etc. but must follow most bicycle laws? hmm, odd rules.
    Last edited by jester69; 07-02-03 at 02:27 PM.

  8. #8
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    Hmmmm....

    Thanks everyone so far...

    Jester, the first link you gave-
    09-64-110(d) Park or Stand on Sidewalk $50.00

    which I found here:
    http://www.ci.chi.il.us/Revenue/Par...Violations.html
    Is that something you pulled up specifically for motorcycles and mopeds or just for motorized vehicles in general?

    Also, the motor scooter was clearly a SCOOTER, so I can't see how they could possibly bend the law for something that is clearly not pedal and motor driven. I will make that point. There is also a problem in that the scooter is 50 cc. I'm not sure if at 50 cc it makes the cut for the moped, or if it's considered something else.

    <sigh>

    I will probably end up finishing the letter today and run it over in the morning before the manager gets too busy. I want to make sure I can sweet talk the manager and try to get some sympathy in here. The manager for the residents side of the building has total sympathy and thinks it's crazy to allow the scooter to park in a BIKE rack which is supposed to be set up for bikes, but as they don't own the property, they cannot do anything about it.

    Man, I hate Chicago politics.

    Koffee

  9. #9
    Its a Lemming thing... jester69's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Koffee Brown

    Is that something you pulled up specifically for motorcycles and mopeds or just for motorized vehicles in general?
    Just motor vehicles in general it looks like, but i'm not sure there. A motorcycle is definitely a motor vehicle in MO, but here there is a grey area for mopeds as they aren't required to have license plates.

    Maybe if you talked to the same cop as earlier or a different one and cited the statute number and said I KNOW its illegal now (yeah, bluff, hehe) they'd ticket them. Or, even better if you saw a cop nearby they might do it more so than one that would have to drive out special to do that?

    Everybody hates tickets, so maybe they wouldn't do it again?

    Sorry I didn't find an exact answer for ya.

    take care,

    Steve

  10. #10
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    Oh, they'll do it again. As long as the management of the building looks the other way and gives them the wink-wink, they'll continue doing it. They said they would.

    They were like "what's the matter with you?" when I was talking with them. Truly, they were clueless as to the importance and need for good bike parking in that area.

    This morning, when I went out to retrieve my bike, I had to dig underneath two other bike parked ON TOP of mine in their efforts to find space. The other two bike racks were full also, and all the no parking signs had 2 bikes attached to them too.... there's absolutely no place to park.

    I thought the major was supposed to be making the city more bike friendly!!?? :confused:

    Koffee

  11. #11
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    Lock your bike to their scooter. Then say there wasn't any other place to use the BIKE rack.

  12. #12
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    I really think if I did that, they would just simply ride off with my bike clattering alongside the scooter. No thanks...

  13. #13
    FOG
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    Locking someone else's propertycould be construed as theft under Maryland statutes (Maryland has unique theft statutes), and various types of larceny under other state statutes.

  14. #14
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    Come on FOG, why do you keep ruining my fun...

  15. #15
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    Buy a cheap chain lock, or a logging chain and heavy lock if you desire, and lock their piece of crap to the bike rack. I am sure that you can see the logic of each approach. I would personally blow $20 on a piece of logging chain and a heavy master lock, just to see them suffer a little.
    Ted Davis John 3:16
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  16. #16
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    I really want to solve this in a peaceful way, not in a confrontational way (as it was this morning!). I will try and go the legal route.

    I did get an idea from Jester's post, though. His website link to the parking fines came from the Department of Revenue, so I will call the Department of Revenue right away in the morning after class and talk to someone and sweet-talking them into helping me figure out what's legal. The Department of Revenue folks can either be really nice or act like they can't be bothered. I will just act very concerned and friendly and try to gain their sympathy so they will help me out. I will even offer them brownies!

    I'll get the truth out of them somehow!

    Koffee

  17. #17
    Gordon P
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    I guess the real issue is that there are not enough places to secure bicycles and scoters. Although scoters are motor vehicles, they are energy efficient, which is a plus, but unfortunately easily stolen. I can understand their concern for theft and there is no reason to do anything nasty about it. Some cities, like Toronto for example, have specially made hitching posts for bicycles all over the city centre. These look like a post with a cast metal circle bolted on and will accommodate two or more bikes. You mentioned that this company removed the racks for aesthetic reasons, maybe try to encourage them to reinstall them. Better yet, maybe you, other Chicago Bike Forum members and your local cycling association could try to encourage the city to provide bicycle racks or posts throughout the downtown centre. I canít see this costing that much money and it encourages people to use their bike and frequent the city centre.

    Good luck with this.

  18. #18
    Gordon P
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    Here is what they look like in case your interested.

  19. #19
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    Thanks Gordon.

    We actually do have a lot of bike racks throughout Chicago, but it's just this one location- right at the John Hancock, which is one of the tallest buildings in the city, with both residences and businesses. You'd think they'd need MORE bike racks because of the unusual mix of a lot of businesses, plus the residences, but they are more concerned with looking pretty.



    If the people with the scooter hadn't behaved in such a nasty manner, I would have come down tomorrow morning and apologized for my brisk behavior and tried to come up with an alternative. As they seemed nasty to me (told me that if there were any scratches or marks on their scooter, they would hold me responsible, even though I said NOTHING threatening or nasty to them about their bike or where they were parking it), I think I will get more personal satisfaction of kicking their selfish, spoiled butts out of the bike rack area.

    I think my answer will lie with the Department of Revenue. They don't play over there. They're there to collect the money for the city for infractions committed.

    I'm going to write up the letter tonight, then call the city tomorrow and get the real deal from them, then bring it over to the management side for the building and see if I can't catch the manager's eye and talk to him in a civil, concerned manner. He's the one that created the mess in the first place- removing the rack and giving the scooter permission to park there, so he should be the one to solve the problem.

    Does that sound reasonable, cause that's how I'm gonna approach him.

  20. #20
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    P.S. I saw the picture after I posted. We have some of those scattered through the south loop where the business district is heavily concentrated. There are not a lot of them either, and of course, there are more bikes than racks and hooks, so problems arise....

    Mayor Daley just needs to push for installation of lots more racks if he keeps pushing this bike summer program he's got.

    I know where Daley works out- he's a member at my friend's club. If anything, I'll roll down there and see if I can catch him right at the end of his routine or something like that. Or I'll have a letter delivered to him just as he's leaving.

    Koffee

  21. #21
    Gordon P
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    You'd think they'd need MORE bike racks because of the unusual mix of a lot of businesses, plus the residences, but they are more concerned with looking pretty.
    When I was in Chicago last year, I remember some areas are treated as high security zones; maybe the removal had something to do with that. Anyway, I think your approach sounds reasonable. Just one question, is this rack on public or private property?

  22. #22
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    Nah- the security of the building told me personally when I asked that they removed the bike racks to put the flower beds in. No security issues whatsoever.

    The racks are on property owned by the people who own the John Hancock, but the laws concerning who may park on a sidewalk and who may not are governed by the city of Chicago, whether public or private property.

  23. #23
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    I have read through your posts and I don't see where you mention how much you paid for the bike rack.

    I am having trouble understanding why you feel you have more of a right to use it than the scooter does?

  24. #24
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    Because it is a BIKE RACK, not a SCOOTER RACK.

    As such, we have MORE RIGHTS to use the rack.

    Besides that, motorized vehicles have NO BUSINESS on the bike racks- and as I said before, bikes have LIMITED ACCESS for parking as it is right now. It is truly the worst situation I've seen in downtown Chicago... the rack is just 2 sticks protruding out of the ground, and 2 BIKES are supposed to share the racks, and even when there are two bikes there, it is difficult for the two bikes to line up opposite each other... and most times, there are up to SIX bikes using racks meant for TWO. There is a SEVERE SHORTAGE OF BIKE PARKING AT THE BUILDING, AND THE MANAGEMENT CHOSE TO LIMIT OUR PARKING EVEN FURTHER BY ALLOWING THIS MOTOR SCOOTER TO PARK IN OUR LIMITED SPACES. This scooter can also park in other places where there is room for the scooter, but the owners are TOO CHEAP to park in the parking garage, and TOO LAZY to take their scooter around the corner and park on the side of the building, which is much more user friendly for them rather than us.

    Again, this is a BIKE RACK NOT A SCOOTER RACK. Is that clear enough for you?

  25. #25
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    I am going to P.S. that post by stating that this BIKE RACK was made for bicycle useage, not for SCOOTER useage. If it was made for a scooter, I'm sure they'd be calling it a SCOOTER RACK, not a BIKE RACK.

    How would anyone like it if I parked my bike in a parking spot so that a car couldn't get in and park in a place with limited parking spaces? How is that fair for the car? And yet, we are expected to step aside so that one scooter can take up the space of the three bikes that normally fight for that space?

    At the very least, it's inefficient. At the most, it's NOT the useage that the bike rack was built OR installed for.

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