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UCPD To Auction Seized Bikes

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.

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3 Comments

  1. Oh yea, and 50% of the auction funds are returned to the UCPD? I bet you see a rise in the number of nice bikes impounded and that God awful eyesore skeleton bike will rot in the same spot for all of eternity. What if 50% of the cash went directly back to the cop who impounded the bike? Wouldn’t people freak out of that? Wouldn’t there be the potential for a gross abuse of power in that situation?

    Even with 50% going back to the department, isn’t there the potential for abuse? Cash might not be going into the cop’s pockets, but what if the department needs some new radios that aren’t in the budget? Or if a cruiser gets a flat tire and funds would need to be allocated from some where else?

    Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that the UCPD or IVFP are crooked in any way and I’m absolutely not accusing them of such actions, but we as a society should make sure that the potential for abuse isn’t even an option. If the auction is really necessary, then donate the money to cancer research or create a “UCPD bike impound scholarship” fund. I mean that’s a great idea, think of the good will it could buy the police.

  2. It’s great that the UCPD admits that there’s not enough bike racks for students to “legally” park their bikes everyday and then impound bikes not in the racks. What is the worst that could happen if the UCPD and CSO’s stopped impounding bikes? I have a feeling almost nothing would change. Most people would still use the racks. As to impeding disabled students, wouldn’t illegally parked bikes create the exact same obstacle for non-disabled students? If the impediment of wheelchairs is really a main point, then just impound bikes locked up to wheelchair ramps and call it a day.

    Please hear me UCPD, taking that policy would eliminate your overflow problem and we can all just live in peace. Just try it out (only impounding bikes locked to wheelchair ramps). If after a month there’s some wild bike obstacle course on campus, meh, I guess I was wrong and impound away. But you already admit you aren’t impounding bikes because there’s no place to put them, so really the situation wouldn’t be any different.

    Or you could just reduce the impound zones to places where locked bikes would really truly cause a safety hazard. And again, if you adopt this kind of policy and a bicycle apocalypse explodes forth, you can always go back to stealing bikes and selling them back to students.

    I mean, Jesus Christ, just the hassle of having your bike impounded is a deterrent (plus you gotta buy a new lock if CSO cuts yours off). Do you really need to sell the bike back to us?

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