The Community Service Organization has begun seizure of illegally parked bicycles once again, marking the end of a two-week grace period.
During the first two weeks of the quarter, campus law enforcement stuck to simply tagging bicycles in violation of campus regulations with an orange notice, informing the owner that the bicycle would be subject to impound if not moved. Now, if students do not heed the warnings, CSO and UC Police Dept. officers may have to add another few hundred bikes to the 1,322 they have already collected since the beginning of the year. The figure includes the approximately 400 bicycles deemed abandoned by law enforcement over Spring Break.
Confiscated bikes are held for 90 days and then auctioned online at www.propertyroom.com in an arrangement wherein 50 percent of the profit is returned to UCPD.
“People will park their bikes anywhere,” UCPD Capt. Mike Foster said. “It’s truly a weird dynamic. People won’t park their cars anywhere, but are much more lax when it comes to bikes.”
Amid bike impoundment sparking up again this quarter, many students are clamoring for more bike racks. Second-year Middle East studies major Elie Sherman said he was particularly surprised by the inconvenient location of bicycle racks servicing Buchanan Hall, Phelps Hall and Ellison Hall.
“I think it is ridiculous that I have to hide my bicycle in the bushes by the Phelps bathroom,” Sherman said. “Half of my classes are here and I can never find a parking spot over at Campbell Hall.”
According to acting CSO Coordinator Chris Verez, the most problematic sites for illegal bicycle parking include: Kerr Hall, HSSB Humanities and Social Science Building, I.V. Theater, Davidson Library and the bus loop.
“[The] CSO is not against installing new bike racks,” Verez said. “This has always been a problem [at UCSB] and we support any plans to put in more racks.
In addition to UCPD’s “Rolling Stock” pamphlet, which explains campus bicycle rules, A.S. BIKES’s pamphlet “UCSB Campus Bike Paths Map” presents a “student friendly” version of UC 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, and reveals a large gap in rack coverage around the Ellison Hall, Buchanan Hall and the Davidson Library areas.
According to 2007 Bike Area Coordinator Matthew Suedkamp, most confiscated bikes are never claimed. Reclaimed bikes are subject to a $24 fee, and for unregistered bikes, another $8 fee is assessed for mandatory registration. Suedkamp said registering a bike keeps it safe.
“Bike registration makes the lives of CSO and students much easier,” Suedkamp said. “With any registered bike that we impound, we send a notice home to the permanent address of the owner to notify them that their bike was impounded and not stolen.”
CSO reports that even with the presence of U-locks on many UCSB bicyclists, law enforcement is able to impound illegally parked bicycles by using powerful five-foot bolt cutters, though the cut often destroys the cutters after only a few uses.