Thursday, August 16, 2007

Someone's sharing the bike rack at work!

This is the 125th day in 2007 that I've locked my bicycle up to this rack in the first floor of our parking garage at work. Today, it's finally being shared... with a motor vehicle.

I'm not sure whether to be angry or to laugh. Regardless, it's kind of pathetic. The 30 day tags tell me this is a new vehicle so it will likely be locked up next to my bike for days to come.

Scratch the "I'm not sure" comment above. I'm angry. Thanks to a selfish scooter owner, there is no safe way for a bicyclist to lock up to this bicycle rack now. There's also a clearly marked "Bicycle Parking" sign next to this rack. If this scooter shows up on the rack tomorrow, I think I'll leave a nasty-gram on it.

Two addendums:

1) The cable is long enough to wrap around one of the support pillars in our parking garage, and it's not even securing the scooter. It's wrapped through a metal handle near the seat. This handle is attached to the scooter with philips head screws.

2) Tomorrow's nasty-gram will likely read as follows:
"This cable would easily wrap around one of the support columns in the motorcycle parking area. Why don't you leave a bicycle parking space free for someone who might actually need it?"

Thoughts? Comments? How would you deal with this?


Adam said...

Contact the building manager or, if that doesn't work, the city's traffic enforcement people. I'm sure parking a scooter there is against some sort of code.

Anonymous said...

Dude, I would totally owrd it like that! Go for it!

Red said...

As someone who bikes 10 miles to work every day and is also a scooter lover/owner, I'm torn.

The problem with scooters is even though they should be in motorcycle parking they're light enough (~220-300lbs) for two guys to lift it into a truck and take away. My 1979 Vespa P200 was taken from me exactly this way. They normally don't provide objects to lock to in a parking garage, so you have to park at a bike rack for that reason.

The support columns are a good idea, this is exactly what my girlfriend does with her 2005 Vespa that she parks in a garage with motorcycle parking.

Finally, does any gram you leave really need to be nasty? This worker probably noticed that there's only one bike parking there and that the spot probably wouldn't be missed. Scooter owners have a lot in common with bike owners, they're both trying to save gas, minimize their carbon footprint, etc, but they just haven't come all the way into the light. I seem to remember reading a post about being an ambassador for cyclists on a biking website recently...

My suggestion would be is if you meet the scooter owner point out that it could be locked up much more securely if attached to the support column. For bonus points, let them know that for their particular scooter (Genuine Buddy) the most secure place to fasten a lock is through the center stand on the bottom. Also, if they're not, encourage them to wear a full face helmet, she'll regret it if she ever gets into an accident.

Noah said...

Trust me, I know scooter riders (and bikers, too) are our allies. "Nasty-gram" is just a term I use. The verbiage I chose wasn't particularly nasty, but I may not leave one at all.

Deb Ridgway, KCMO's first-ever Bike/Pedestrian Coordinator replied to my e-mail. I've talked to her a few times before when she worked for Bridging The Gap, a local agency focused on sustainable community. Her suggestions were:

* Ask building security to kindly ask the scooter owner to not use the area designated for bicycle parking. You may have to explain why this is important.
* Leave a nice note for the scooter owner, asking them to please not occupy the area designated for bicycles. Perhaps you can in a nice way, ask why they chose to park at that location. (My guess is this is the only way they have of securing their scooter)
* Ask your employer to provide additional bike parking spaces
* Ask your employer to provide designated motorcycle/scooter parking spaces
* Try kindness first. I know how frustrating it can be. You may find an ally in the scooter owner in requesting better parking facilities for alternate modes to automobiles.

I think those are wise words, but the fact is that the cable would reach around the support posts that were 15-50 feet away, in the motorcycle parking area. Also, I'm not sure I'll get a chance to meet the owner face to face. I get to work early and leave early.

Yokota Fritz said...

What's the problem? Inverted U's are designed for two bikes, and scooters always lock up to them. Does anyone besides you and the scooter owner use this bike rack?

And like Redson notes, it's super easy to lift a scooter and steal it. From a diplomacy side of things, if you're insistent on the scooter parking elsewhere, make friends first then ask for a "favor." You might need his alliance someday later.

Noah said...

I suppose. But for what it's worth, I'd be just as peeved seeing a segway or someone's tool box locked up there.

I guess if it keeps getting parked there, I'll just ask the property company to convert more motorcycle spaces (of which there are ample unused on the most crowded motorcycle days) into bike spaces.

I can has more bike rack? K thanks.

Jamie said...

Find a cheap cable lock and use it to supplementally lock the scooter to the rack. Then put a note on it that says "I love the fact that you parked here so much that I decided to help you keep it safe."

amidnightrider said...

I know it pisses off the Hells Angels when I say this, but I hope not you.
Harleys and Vespas and all those others, are nothing more than bicycles with an engine.

Share the road and share the U-lock.

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