In these depraved days of a Republican president appointing known fascists to Cabinet posts while trying to distance himself from the vile governing of the Reagan era at the same time, at least one more influence of the MADD time remains: bicycle impounding.
That’s right. In case you hadn’t noticed, creep squads of yellow-shirts prowl our campus every day in a cattle truck turned hallway ranger looking for bicycles on which to bring down the hammer. "Improperly parked" bikes are corralled by the rustlers and hauled off to the fearsome never-never land of the campus transportation world – the CSO impound yard.
If you are one of the unfortunate bastards to have had your bike sequestered by the "Community Service Organization," you know all about the $24 impound release fee and the $6 registration fee. One can rationalize taking a bike that is a legitimate safety concern – hanging by its wheel from a doorway, or parked sideways across a stairwell – out of circulation. People who park bicycles in such a manner should be fined a hell of a lot more than $24 to get them back. What makes no sense is the removal of an inoffensive transportation unit from a 40-foot wide hallway (these cases have been well documented), or one leaning against a building with thousands of feet of open space surrounding it.
However, the most heinous affront to principle and reason in the seedy world of bicycle repossession is the seemingly innocent $6 registration fee. The CSO charges both volunteers and offenders $6 to register their bike with the campus Police Dept. If your bike is impounded you must pay the $6 fee before you pay the $24 release fee. Why, pray tell, do bicycles need to be registered? The only things that need registering in this world are motor vehicles and firearms. Are bicycles deadly weapons? Of course not. Has anyone ever heard of a waiting period to buy a bike? Hell no!
The CSO will tell you it’s for the good of the student community, and that registering bikes makes it easier to recover them after they have invariably been stolen. Yeah. How many people do you know who’ve had their bike stolen and subsequently recovered thanks to having registered it with the ol’ UCPD?
Actually, there are no good reasons for charging thousands of students $6 a pop, other than to raise several thousand dollars every year when about 4,000 stupid freshmen line up like good soldiers and pay up.
So, everybody, don’t register your bikes and do park them illegally (but safely). Eventually, the coppers will run out of room to store them; their Jawa-style bike-taker-awayer system will break down, or they’ll get so bloody fed up with the busy work involved that they’ll get off the whole fascism kick and either do real community service or go out and look for honest work.
Paul Rivas is a senior math, sociology and Spanish major.