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Council plans easier removal of abandoned bicycles in Dublin

— Stationless bike share to significantly add to strong demand for bicycle parking.

Dublin City Council wants to be able to tag abandoned bicycles quicker and immediately remove those in an extremely poor condition and pose an immediate hazard.

The original rule that the council must wait two weeks before even tagging a bicycle as abandoned is viewed by the council as an unnecessary part of the process. Bicycles will still be tagged and left two weeks before being removed from the street or car park — but the council wants to be able to remove bicycles even if a member of the public removes the tag from the bicycle.

In a report to the council’s transport committee, which meets this Wednesday, said that the removal of tags restarted the process and this “has proved cumbersome as in some cases the tags were removed from bicycles that were clearly abandoned.”

The council said that, since the abandoned bicycle tagging policy was introduced, efforts to remove abandoned bicycles have been concentrated in the council’s south-east and central areas where demand for cycle parking is greatest. In the two areas combined 216 bicycles were removed in 2016 and 92 removed in 2017.

“The procedure has operated smoothly with only a handful of cases reported where owners have sought to recover bicycles or frames that were removed as abandoned. In all cases the bicycles have been returned to their owners. It is however felt that the current procedure is a little overcautious and could be improved by making the following changes,” said Alec Dundon, executive engineer with Dublin City Council.

Dundon said: “The current procedure requires that once an official suspects a bike is abandoned they must monitor it for two weeks before tagging it as abandoned. It was intended that this requirement would help avoid situations where bicycles that hadn’t been abandoned were tagged in error,”

He added: “However, during the two years since this procedure has been in operation, DCC Officials have become accustomed to recognising abandoned bicycles and it is considered that this requirement is no longer needed. As long as DCC Officials continue to exercise caution when tagging bicycles it is considered unnecessary to monitor the bikes for two weeks beforehand.”

The council said that it views an abandoned bicycle to be defined as “a bicycle located on a public street or in a public car park that would appear, due to it’s general poor condition, to have been abandoned by its owner.”

The policy states: “Abandoned bicycles will usually be identified by their condition. Flat tyres on both front and back wheels, buckled or missing wheels, damaged frames or heavily rusted chains and sprockets will be taken as indications that the bicycle has been abandoned,” and that “officials will exercise caution when determining that a bicycle is abandoned.”

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Under the revised policy, bicycles in “extremely poor condition and pose an immediate hazard to the general public” will be removed and disposed of “as soon as possible”, with no requirement for tagging or storage.

Dundon said “All bicycles that are in reasonable condition will be kept in secure storage for a holding period of 4 weeks. During that time the owner will be able to reclaim their bicycle by contacting the relevant official from the area where the bicycle was parked [with details on the council’s website].The owner will be required to provide proof of ownership or produce the key that opens the lock that secured the bicycle.”

If an owner has not reclaimed a bicycle within four weeks, the bicycles — depending on their condition — will be donated to charity, recycled or dumped.

MORE: Report to transport committee: Recommended changes to the procedure for the removal of Abandoned Bicycles is reader-funded journalism. That means it's funded by readers like you.

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Cian Ginty

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