21st Street Bike Rack Blog

A blog about the bike rack on West 21st Street between 8th and 9th Avenues in New York City, and about urban bike usage, bike theft, and security

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The law on bicycle locking and abandoned bicycles in New York City

After the NYPD became hostile to Critical Mass, City Council Members Palma, Brewer, Martinez and Mendez proposed a law to better define what constitutes an abandoned bicycle.
On the night of the September 2004 Critical Mass ride, the New York City Police Department seized a number of bicycles on 36th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues in what the City later characterized as an attempt to punish cyclists’ participation in, and prevent their continued participation, in the September Critical Mass bike ride. The City justified these seizures by claiming that section 16-122 (b) of the Administrative Code granted them the authority to seize any bicycles chained to public street fixtures as “other movable property.” The police have taken the position that this regulation makes it illegal for people to leave their bicycles unattended on a public street, whether or not they are chained to traffic signs or parking meters.

Nicely put, Councilmembers!

Of interest to anyone fascinated, as I am, by abandoned bicycles, is this section:

New York City Council finds that removing genuinely abandoned bicycles affixed to public property serves a legitimate governmental objective. Accordingly, in order to authorize the City to remove actually abandoned bicycles, and prevent bicycles that have not been abandoned from being impounded, the New York City Council finds that it is necessary to amend the Administrative Code in relation to the seizures of bicycles by (1) explicitly authorizing the seizure of actually abandoned bicycles, (b) creating a notice requirement in connection therewith, and (c) establishing procedures for the retrieval of abandoned bicycles seized pursuant to this section.

The fine for abandoning a bicycle is between $25 and $100.


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