City of Vancouver not strict about bikes locked to parking meters
While he said it’s “technically” illegal to lock a bicycle to a parking meter in Vancouver, the general manager of city engineering services has locked his in such a way “many times”.
“It’s just not something we’re rabid about, right?” Peter Judd told the Straight by phone from City Hall.
Mount Pleasant–based artist Laura Eveleigh said she rides her bike absolutely everywhere, and recently shared her views in a Facebook chat with local cyclist, blogger, and freelance travel writer Ulrike Rodrigues about the street and traffic bylaw.
Section 85A of the city bylaw states, “No person shall paint, paste, stick or affix or put any sign, bill, notice, substance or thing on any street furniture.”
“It was Brodie bicycles,” Eveleigh told the Straight by phone. “They put a picture of the [privately made] diamond-shaped bike rack, and how it can be easily compromised. She [Ulrike] just commented that she usually just locks hers to a parking meter. Then I made a comment that it’s too bad that that’s illegal in Vancouver.”
Nevertheless, Eveleigh said she locks her bike to a parking meter if the racks are full. Judd said he has no problem with this.
“At times, bikes attached to [bolted-down city] poles along the streetface like that can be a problem,” he said. “And they [bikes] do get kicked over. They do get pushed into, swung around the pole, and kicked into traffic and so on. Not a lot, but it does happen, and so we need a mechanism to deal with ones that get trashed and get left on poles or become a hazard. That’s why the street and traffic bylaw gives us the ability to deal with them, essentially by prohibiting them. In practical terms, we don’t really care that much.”
Judd said the city requires that bike racks be installed in front of all new developments, and that the city adds them where the demand is high.
“So, where those exist, it’s a lot better place to put your bike,” he said. “If you attach it to a parking meter, are we going to cut it off? No, not unless somebody complains or unless it’s an actual hazard. And that only happens about a dozen times a year.”
Eveleigh said she has some concerns relating to the fact that, if the city does take a bike away, they don’t leave a note.
“So, you would come out and you would assume it was stolen,” Eveleigh said. “You wouldn’t really think about going to the city, and they keep them for 30 days.”
Judd stressed that the city usually only takes away the remains of decrepit, abandoned bicycles.