Dealing with “Dead Bikes”

What can happen when you leave your bike leaning against a tree too long.

It’s one thing to say you want to create a bicycle-friendly community, it’s quite another to pull it off. In the abstract, it sounds pretty easy. The devil is in the details.

A case in point: Richmond City Council is pondering an ordinance to authorize police to attach a bicycle, motorcycle or moped to a city-owned tree, post, sign or other property after 72 consecutive hours if they are inoperable, or after 10 days if they are abandoned.

This is the kind of thing that comes up when more people use — and abuse — bicycles. In a column today, Times-Dispatch columnist Michael Paul Williams recalls an incident from two years ago in which two guys were visiting a friend and secured their bikes to a no-parking sign. A bit later, the discovered a police officer digging up the sign and threatening to confiscate their bikes. Writes Williams: “The episode embodied the city’s uneasy coexistence with bicycles.”

In the most recent case, however, City Council appears to be responding to a real problem — the “dead bike” issue. It’s a fact: People leave inoperable bikes tethered to trees and city property, taking up public space and creating an eyesore. “They are blight,” Williams quotes City Council member Parker C. Angelasto as saying.

I’m a big proponent of cyclist’s rights. But rights come with responsibilities, and cyclists need to be good citizens. Their rights don’t extend to chaining their bicycles to city property for days or weeks on end. The ordinance sounds reasonable to me.


Share this article


(comments below)


(comments below)


Leave a Reply