MU to begin impounding of illegally parked bicycles

Thursday, September 22, 2011 | 6:31 p.m. CDT; updated 6:54 p.m. CDT, Monday, October 10, 2011
A bike sits locked to a light pole near the MU Bookstore on Thursday. Bikes on campus will be impounded starting in October if they are chained to anything but bike racks.

COLUMBIA — Bicyclists on campus, take note.

MU rules allow that bicycles not parked in campus racks can be impounded, and a campaign is under way to encourage cyclists to not lock their bicycles on trees, light poles, railings and other fixtures.

An email sent to all students on Wednesday reminded them about the rules and said failure to use bike racks could lead to the impounding of bicycles beginning Oct. 10.

Steve Burdic, MU sustainability coordinator, said the email signaled the beginning of an information campaign about proper bicycle parking on campus in partnership with MU Parking and Transportation Services, Campus Facilities and MU Police.

"We are putting out a positive message about parking legally before we take drastic measures and impound bicycles," Burdic said. "However, bicycles that obstruct the disabled or threaten the safety of others may be impounded."

He encouraged cyclists to "please take a few extra seconds to find a bike rack."

Chaining bikes to trees can damage them and chaining to light poles can scratch them, he said. "We do not have the maintenance funding necessary to repaint frequently. The disabled and others rely on handrails for safety."

Public safety was also cited.

"It is very crowded on sidewalks at certain times of the day, and bikes parked on light poles, fences and railing represent a hazard to pedestrians," Burdic said.

As an immediate measure, the Sustainability Office intends to put warning tags on bicycles that are improperly parked.

"After Oct. 10, illegal bicycles could be impounded and can be retrieved from Surplus Property," Burdic said. "There will not be a charge for this action."

Another part of the campaign is bicycle registration, which would be important to retrieve an impounded bicycle.

The M-Book, a publication that contains rules and regulations of the university, requires that "all persons operating a bicycle on the MU campus register their bikes with the University of Missouri Police Department." Registration can be done online.

MU Police Capt. Brian Weimer said 168 bicycles have been registered this semester, more than last semester. That figure falls far short of the 5,000 bicycle spaces on campus.

A map that shows the location of bike racks on campus can be found on the website for the sustainability office.

"Many bike racks go unused while other areas are popular and need additional bike racks," Burdic said. There are plans to add more racks as part of the campaign.

Input about the campaign can be directed to

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Paul Allaire September 22, 2011 | 6:53 p.m.

Send them to a RACK!!!

(Report Comment)
Derrick Fogle September 22, 2011 | 8:48 p.m.

Seriously? You can't hold your punishment horses until you've actually solved the problem, which is a shortage of bike racks in some areas? That's just mean.

They've been ticketing motorcyclists for parking in the grass, too, because there's not nearly enough motorcycle parking. Again, no common sense there, just mean spiritedness.

I shoot service calls on campus on my bicycle all the time. It's quick, effective, and saves the University a ton of money. Having to park at one of the under-utilized racks a block away would completely negate the advantage it gives me to provide fast, effective service on campus.

I park at racks whenever I reasonably can. But if it's a matter of missing the "window of opportunity" on a service call, I get creative about parking my bike. I guess these people would rather have an instructor cancel a class because I can't get there on time? That's about as counter-productive as you can get.

Please: fix the problem first, don't punish people who are optimizing University space and resources first.

(Report Comment)
trey moss September 22, 2011 | 9:30 p.m.

There is such a shortage of bike parking at the UMH hospitals, I have had to chain my bike to trees and lamp posts. Please fix the rack shortage before taking my bike.

I agree that common decency should prevent you from obstructing a sidewalk or ramp to a building, but there is one rack at the front of UMH's hospital (none in front of the conference center at Women's and Children's). This leads to a total of 6 spaces for bikes to park at for how many thousand employees and students?

Lets put up more racks, then start a campaign of "no harm, informational" ticketing before cutting off my bike lock and taking my bike away. Biking should be encouraged, not criminalized.

(Report Comment)

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