Over the past few months, Bikemore has heard several accounts of Harbor East security employees placing stickers on bicycles locked to any object that Harbor East Management Group did not explicitly install as bicycle parking (e.g. a standard No Stopping from here to intersection sign). These stickers were intended as "courtesy notices" instructing people to lock to bicycle racks rather than street signs–even though locking to street signs is legal (with some exceptions), and the stickering amounts to defacement of private property. A few weeks ago, Harbor East Management Group issued a memo to Harbor East residents and employees, titled "Bicycle Safety and Security Tips." The memo contained some great information about locking up your bike; for instance, a recommendation to use a Kryptonite U-lock rather than a cable lock to secure a bike.
However, the memo also contained information that is patently false. One paragraph reads:
"It is illegal to chain your bicycle to a city light or sign pole, benches or parking meters. Baltimore City Police are authorized to cut your lock and impound your bicycle should they chose to do so. Out of courtesy, Harbor East Security will place an "illegal parking" sticker on your bicycle as a simple reminder to use an authorized bike rack to prevent your bicycle from being impounded."
Quite simply, this is incorrect. Now, it is prohibited for a bicycle to be in a location where it would “obstruct or impede vehicular traffic or pedestrian movement,” so in that situation, the Police would have the authority to remove it.
However, these situations are few and far between in practice.
Since the initial memo, Bikemore worked with Harbor East Management Group and the City and confirmed the stickers were being used based on inaccurate information.
After working with Bikemore, Harbor East Management Group is no longer placing “courtesy notice” stickers on bicycles. That said, Harbor East continues to issue non-sticker “courtesy notices” on bicycles despite Bikemore’s efforts to reverse this procedure altogether.
As we move forward, Bikemore encourages riders to keep us abreast with the situation in Harbor East. If stickers return, notify us and we will work with the City and Harbor East Management Group to rectify the situation.
We ask the city government to issue a press release clarifying this issue of legal vs. illegal bicycle parking, and asking all public and private city stakeholders to stop spreading misinformation about bicycle parking.