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Monday, June 28, 2010

565 Sherbourne Chopping Off Bikes

CANADA - Thank god I talk to other cyclists otherwise I never would have known what was about to happen to my bicycle...

The building management at 565 Sherbourne (owned by Medallion Properties Inc.) has arbitrarily decided that the bike rack in front of the Shoppers Drug Mart is for residents of their building only and are going to be chopping people's bikes off. I learned this from a fellow cyclist when we stopped to move the bike racks in question back from the road a bit, because they're not bolted to the sidewalk and have a tendency to shift.

Apparently the land the Shoppers Drug Mart is on belongs to 565 Sherbourne, not to the Shoppers Drugmart itself. There is no signs or anything indicating who owns the bike racks in question. Seriously, what would it cost to put up a sign that says "This Bike Rack is for Residents of 565 Sherbourne Only"...?

Now while it is true that the building management can do whatever they want on their own property, chopping off people's bikes and stealing them is a fuzzy gray zone. Especially when there is no signage declaring ownership.

And what happens when they accidentally chop off the bike belonging to a tenant? Or a bike belonging to a friend of a tenant? Or someone just picking up a prescription of medication at the Shoppers Drug Mart?

The sad thing is that Toronto doesn't have a lot of legislation on this issue. This type of thing happens far too often (I have friends who have had their bikes chopped off when visiting friends at their apartment buildings). The rights of building managements to control their bike racks and chopping off bikes (effectively stealing them) needs to be balanced with cyclist rights. Right now building managers across the city are acting like bullies and ignoring the rights of bicycle owners.

Its bad enough that spot is already known for vandalism and bike theft. The problem is that when one person's bike gets stolen, it sometimes sets off a rash of bike thefts... so if a company cuts off people's bikes and removes them all at once, suddenly the whole neighbourhood could see a rash of bike thefts.

People take the theft of their property very seriously and not everyone is above just stealing someone elses when theirs is taken. The real criminal here however is the building management for refusing to put up a sign so the general public knows they can't park their bikes there.

If the City of Toronto would add more bicycle racks outside of store fronts this wouldn't be a problem. Diddo for apartment buildings with lots of cyclists. And just scrap the "residents only" policy of chopping people's bikes off. Its unnecessary and just leads to more problems when a sign could discourage people.

According to a Google search the apartment buildings in question also have trouble with bedbugs, crackheads living in the building, residents harassing people walking by and throwing things at pedestrians... and a Toronto.ca PDF which reveals the following:

"By-law 1044-2006 which permitted the construction of the Shoppers Drug Mart required 60 bicycle parking spaces to be provided in a secured bicycle parking area."

If there's any lawyers out there who could explain what this means, please do. Does that mean they MUST provide bicycle parking NEAR the Shoppers Drug Mart, and this must be done in a "secure" fashion?

Seriously, how secure is a bike rack that isn't even bolted to the pavement?

I learned from building management they are intending to remove the bike rack entirely on July 5th, one week from now. No word on whether the owners of the bicycles will be given much of a warning. If they do remove it, wouldn't that place them in violation of the above mentioned by-law which requires 60 bicycle parking spaces? (It should be noted the existing bike racks only provide space for 30, so they're already in violation of the by-law.)

What a conundrum.

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