In 2008, 1,753 bikes were impounded on campus.
Since January of this year, 872 bikes have been impounded and only 323 have been retrieved by their owners, according to CSO and UCPD figures. Since space has already begun to fill up in the UCPD lot, bikes are now impounded on a complaint-response basis, UCPD Sgt. Matt Bowman said. Confiscated bikes are held for 90 days, Bowman said, then auctioned online at www.propertyroom.com in an arrangement where 50 percent of the profit is returned to UCPD.
According to Bowman, while the fees currently fund CSO programs such as the free escort service, the police department is also looking to utilize some of the funding to add more racks.
“We absolutely believe that there needs to be an improvement with bike racks,” Bowman said. “We are working with A.S. Bike Committee and Physical Facilities on that issue, since it is a space, aesthetic and money issue.”
Because they are impounding more bikes than they can contain, Bowman said, the UCPD plans to unload abandoned bikes at local silent auctions. While nothing concrete is established, the department has tentative plans to establish an impounded bike auction in front of the UCen once a month. Students will have the opportunity to bid on bikes in good condition, Bowman said.
Due to the large number of impoundments, Bowman said the university is working toward clarifying acceptable bike parking areas on campus.
“The A.S. Bike Committee, Physical Facilities and the UCPD will increase signage on campus, including signs in racks explaining regulations,” Bowman said. “We also want to paint ‘no bike parking’ in areas we frequently see illegally parked bikes, like the courtyard at HSSB.”
Problematic sites for illegal bicycle parking include Kerr Hall, Humanities and Social Science Building, I.V. Theater, Davidson Library and the bus loop, according to CSO figures.
In addition to UCPD’s “Rolling Stock” pamphlet, which lists campus bicycle rules, the “UCSB Campus Bike Paths Map” found in the A.S. BIKES pamphlet presents a ‘student friendly’ version of university policy on bicycle laws and provides safe bicycling tips and etiquette. The pamphlet includes a map of bike paths around campus and the location of corresponding bike racks, which reveals a large gap in rack coverage around the Ellison Hall, Buchanan Hall and the Davidson Library areas.
Farfalla Borah, an Americans with Disabilities Act Compliance Officer, said illegally parked bicycles disadvantage disabled community members.
“Since we have a flat and relatively small campus, it should be a safe and welcoming place for students, faculty and staff with mobility and vision impairments,” Borah said. “But this kind of insensitivity undermines that possibility.”
Erin Ruder, a third-year sociology major, had her bike impounded because someone moved it to an illegal zone.
“I had to register my bike and pay a fee even though I was not parked illegally,” Ruder said. “I don’t think they should impound bikes because it’s not hurting anyone. It’s just an exploitation of our money.”
Currently, impounded bikes can be picked up from the CSO office, Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. for a $29 impound release fee, not including a $6 registration fee for un-registered bikes.