Thursday, July 22, 2010

Charleston, SC to Crackdown on the Scourge of Illegally Parked Bicycles

The (Charleston, South Carolina) Post and Courier reports that the city law-givers are on the verge of issuing new ordinances cracking down on the scourge of illegally parked bicycles.  Apparently bicyclists have been documented locking these dangerous mechanical objects to almost anything, including: parking meters, street signs, trees, and light poles!   Certain city council persons have had enough.

Reporter David Slade explores this controversy in depth this is an excerpt from his investigation:

"Charleston could soon take a hard line against illegally parked bicycles, with proposed regulations that would allow the city to immobilize or seize bikes found locked to traffic signs, street trees and the like.

Just as a motorist might find their illegally parked car with one of the those big yellow "boots" attached to a wheel, rendering the vehicle useless until a fine is paid to remove the device, cyclists could find a city lock on their illegally parked bike until they pay a $45 fine.

A proposed Charleston city ordinance would prohibit locking bikes to parking meters and other public property on sidewalks, and violators could see their bikes confiscated until they pay a $45 fine. Bikes that appear abandoned, like this vandalized one that hasn't moved from Calhoun Street in months, could be seized and disposed of after seven days' notice.

City Council will consider the measure at a meeting scheduled to start at 5 p.m. today in City Hall.

'I think this probably goes a little bit too far in discouraging the use of bicycles, if it is enforced,' said Tom Bradford, director of the cycling advocacy group Charleston Moves.

'We pay so much attention to whether there is sufficient parking for cars, and at the same time, we want people to be more active,' he said. 'But if you make it very difficult to park a bicycle, then you're cutting off your nose to spite your face.'

The parking rules are part of a broader bicycle ordinance that would give the city authority to seize and dispose of abandoned bikes, would eliminate a widely ignored regulation that all bikes must have a one-dollar city license, and spells out when and where people can ride bikes on sidewalks. Generally, children 12 and younger could ride on sidewalks."
Charleston, South Carolina is one of the most beautiful cities I've ever seen.  The idea behind this ordinance seems pretty silly.  Maybe it's just the presentation, but the ordinance sure sounds like an invitation to the City becoming known as hostile and unfriendly to the very sorts of people I would think they would want to be warm and accommodating.


  1. As a transplanted Charlestonian, I sure would like to see the installation of municipal bike racks, rather than the ordinace proposed above.

  2. Amy C

    What sort of Ass Hats are running C-ton? Bunch of maroons if you ask me!


  3. In this case I don't think using the stick will be as effective as using the carrot. Cyclists will use bike racks, if provided, for two reasons: it's more secure to lock your bike to a proper rack than a parking meter or a street sign; it also means the bike is less likely to fall over and get damaged.

    It seems to be pretty unreasonable to seize someone's bike when just because it's locked to a street sign or other piece of public property, especially if there are no bike racks provided.

    I'm not a lawyer, but I thought Americans were protected from unreasonable seizure of their property:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."