Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Your Fall Refresher Course on Bike Parking Rules in Philly

With the beautiful fall weather and resumption of school, there are thousands of bicycles parked everywhere. The time is right for a quick refresher course on Philadelphia's rules for bicycle parking:
Oliver senses a lot of public
misinformation about parking

Where You Can/Cannot Park Your Bicycle
  1. You may lock to bike racks (on the sidewalk or in a bike corral). Obviously.
  2. You may lock to public street poles or parking meters (unless prohibited by a government agency, and as long as you do not block the pedestrian right-of-way).
  3. You may not lock to a tree (damages the tree, and encourages thieves to uproot or cut down the tree to steal your bike).
  4. You may not lock to private property (railings or fences on private property).
Vespas, Motorcycles, and Scooters
According to Philadelphia's Traffic Code, scooters and motorcycles are not allowed on sidewalks.

§ 12-913. Prohibitions in Specified Places.
(1) Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic or to protect the safety of any person or vehicle or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic-control device, no person shall:

(a) Stop, stand or park a vehicle:
(ii) On a sidewalk except that a bicycle may be parked as provided in Section 12-807.

This means that Vespas are not allowed to be locked to in-sidewalk bike racks. If you see a scooter or motorcycle parked on a sidewalk, report it to the Parking Authority by posting a photo on PPA's Facebook page. PPA does monitor their own page. Use it!

Scooters and motorcycles are also not allowed to park inside bike corrals, which are specifically designed and installed for bicycles. There should be signs at each corral indicating that scooters/motorcycles are not permitted in bicycle corrals.

Concerning Private Owners Prohibiting Bike Parking in Front of Their Storefront/Building
According to state law, property owners are not allowed to post private signs on public poles:

75 Pa.C.S.A. § 6125
§ 6125. Display of unauthorized signs, signals or markings
(a) General rule.--No person shall place, maintain or display upon or in view of any highway any unauthorized sign, signal, marking or device which purports to be or is an imitation of or resembles an official traffic-control device or which attempts to direct the movement of traffic, or which hides from view or interferes with the effectiveness of an official traffic-control device.

This means you cannot put up a "no bike parking" sign on public property, or expect your sign to apply to public property like a street pole. We saw this play out over the summer in the Penn Square plaza in front of La Colombe and the Ritz Residences, across the street from City Hall. In July:
July 2013. Wrong.
We reported this to the Streets Department, and were glad to see that they had the sign taken down:
Late September 2013. Thank you, Streets Department!
We hope this is helpful as we all jostle for parking spaces this fall.


HelluvaStella said...

Hotel Palomar at 117 S 17th St has been known to tell cyclists trying to lock up to the parking sign in front of their entrance that "engineering will cut your lock". I don't know if they've changed their attitude since this spring, but I may go by and see what reaction I get from the doormen.