Bike impoundment rule goes into effect for MU campus

After a week of enforcement, no bikes have been impounded under illegal parking regulation.

Five days in and MU cyclists are still impoundment-free.

MU Police Department enacted a bike impoundment rule Oct. 10, stating any bikes parked illegally on campus could be removed and taken to Surplus Property.

Communications Director for Campus Facilities Karlan Seville said riders responded by changing their behavior after word got out about the new rule.

“We’re actually very happy that the warning tags seem to have worked,” she said. “People are starting to realize that it’s not such a good idea just to park wherever you want. We think that the educational aspect of this is working, and we hope that we won’t have to impound any bikes.”

The tags are a form of notification for cyclists prior to actually impounding the bikes.

The regulation came in response to an increase in bikes on campus compared to previous years, Seville said. She said the issue isn’t new, it’s simply a bigger problem than before.

“Bikes parked on the handrails can make it impossible for people with disabilities to use those handrails for support and to enter the building safely,” she said. “That’s our biggest concern, safety.”

MUPD Captain Scott Richardson said officers will not be assigned to go out and collect illegally parked bikes. Instead, if they come across a bike causing a safety risk while on patrol, they will remove it.

“It’s most likely to be based upon a complaint that we would receive,” he said. “We would respond to that area.”

Richardson said students are encouraged to register their bikes through MUPD, fulfilling the city’s registration requirement. The registration form can be found on the MUPD website and asks the rider for bike characteristics, make and model and serial number.

“We do encourage anybody who owns a bike in the city of Columbia to come register their bike with us or the city of Columbia or the local fire department,” he said. “We have an online registration that makes this really simple for the person.”

Seville said about 200 bikes were registered as of Oct. 10. She said having a bike registered makes it easier to collect from Surplus Property because the rider does not have to find a way to prove ownership.

“If you’re out on any given day, you know there’s more than 200 bikes on campus,” she said. “It will make it a lot easier for people to claim their bike if they register it first. You’ll at least have a registration of your bicycle, whereas if you just say, ‘I have a brown Giant bicycle that doesn’t have any scratches on it,’ that could be anybody’s bike.”

Seville said riders should take the extra time to find a bike rack, even if it is farther from their destination than the nearest light pole.

“If you are assigned to a parking lot on campus and you have to park in the very back of the lot because that’s the only spot left, you’re not going to just give up and say ‘I’ll go park in front of Schweitzer Hall and park on the sidewalk,’” she said. “You’re not going to drive your car up to the door and get out and go to class. We’re just asking people to take a couple extra minutes and find a bike rack that’s not as full.”

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