No Bikes on Trees

Town Hall - violation bike on tree
A bike tagged with a violation at Town Hall

Town has started enforcing the bicycle parking bylaw that prohibits locking bikes to street trees. A bike found locked to a tree will have its lock cut and be removed immediately. Plus there’s a $50 fine for violating a town bylaw.

According to the town’s beautification committee, trees get damaged by having bikes repeatedly locked to them. There are very few street trees in town — Commercial Street has only nine street trees, and they’re all relatively recent additions to the streetscape.

After I heard that town had started tagging bikes parked on trees, I was riding down Commercial Street and I saw someone about to lock his bike to a street tree in front of the Art House. I warned him that town had begun enforcing the no bikes on trees bylaw. I also pointed out the half-empty bike rack across the street at the Post Office. He locked up his bike around the tree and said “I’ll just be a minute.” Then he crossed the street and walked into the Post Office.

My brief interaction with this random person on the street reminded me of how people act in their cars when they block the street or double park. “I’ll just be a minute” seems to be some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card that people use to justify their actions.

The typical argument against enforcing the bike parking bylaw is that there isn’t enough bike parking. While I agree that more bike parking is needed, just having more parking isn’t going to stop someone from putting their convenience first.

What’s the solution?

  • First and foremost, more convenient bike parking. Provincetown 365‘s Parking and Transportation Work Group is putting together a plan for more bike parking, and I’ve also put together a list of locations where we could fit over 250 more bike parking spaces on town land. We’ll be talking about this in depth at the next bicycle committee meeting on July 8.
  • Second, some signage 1) to indicate that it’s prohibited to park to street trees; and 2) to point the way to bike racks, especially at Town Hall.
  • Finally, some more education. I mocked up a little 2″ x 4″ sticker that we could place on the bike racks around town that includes a QR code to the Google bike rack map. It’s a small thing, but it’s a start.

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