In order to maintain campus integrity and keep walkways open, University of Connecticut Parking Services is tasked with impounding abandoned and misplaced bikes.
Since the beginning of 2015, eighteen bicycles have been impounded for different violations and are in the possession of parking services. While impoundment may seem like a callous process, students acknowledge that it serves as a fundamental way of keeping bike racks free of abandoned bikes.
“I think that there is really a big problem with parking. I had to lock my bike to a sign because all of the bike racks were full,” Matthew Poon, a 4th-semester mechanical engineering major, said.
The vast majority of bikes that end up being impounded are those that show signs of abandonment. According to university policy, a bike is considered abandoned if it is locked to university property (e.g. a bike rack), and it is in an inoperable and dilapidated condition. Bikes can also be impounded if they are locked to trees, handrails, fire hydrants, trash bins and benches, or if they obstruct pedestrian pathways.
Prior to impounding a bike, a 72-hour notice will be given and once this period has expired the bicycle is removed and placed in the custody of Parking Services.
“Less than fifteen percent of the university’s impounded bicycle inventory is ever claimed by their owners. Unclaimed bicycles are considered surplus and disposed of in accord with State policy,” said parking manager Dwight Atherton.
The State of Connecticut maintains that items in state surplus will be available for purchase by state agencies and municipalities. Then, if items are still unsold after fourteen days, they will go to a public auction and be distributed to the highest bidder.
“According to the current policy, there is a few months wait and then they go and sell the bike,” Timothy Williams, a 4th-semester management and engineering major, said. “I don’t think this is really the best way of doing things.”
Williams has had his own bike impounded, and while he was able to recover it, he feels that the current process does not allow the owner enough time to get their bike back. Nonetheless, parking services maintains that it is much more lenient in holding onto bikes than what it is dictated to be.
“Parking Services policy states that we will hold impounded bicycles a minimum of forty-five days,” said Atherton “The State require only ten days for them to be considered abandoned and therefore State property, but in practice, we hold them for about six months before disposing of them.”