Bicycle Use Policy

Type of Policy: 
Administrative
Last Revised: 
October 2014
Review Date: 
October 2017
Policy Owner: 
Parking & Transportation
Contact Name: 
Lisa Safstrom
Contact Title: 
Parking and Transportation Services
Contact Email: 
lisa.safstrom@pts.gatech.edu
Reason for Policy: 

As Georgia Tech’s campus becomes a safer, more welcoming place for bicycling, we are increasingly encountering bicycles that are either locked to handrails, entrances, trees, ramps, or other objects, or have been abandoned by their owners. Currently no policy exists on campus to identify these behaviors as problematic, and to identify the appropriate response from the Institute. This policy identifies what actions are to be discouraged, and how they should be dealt with, as well as making clear the expectations for both cyclists and administrators in managing this issue. The policy also serves to encourage the safe operation of bicycles on and around the Georgia Tech campus. The policy that follows is the result of a recurring partnership between campus staff, students, and faculty in the form of the Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee (BIIC). This committee, which includes representatives of Parking and Transportation Services (PTS), Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD), Capital Planning and Space Management, Facilities and is chaired and operated by students, spent over three years generating, reviewing, and selecting the content of this policy to provide for a more safe and supportive environment for bicycling at Georgia Tech.

Policy Statement: 

The intent of this policy is to provide clearer guidance to cyclists about the expectations of the Institute with regard to reasonable operation and registration of bicycles to be used, stored, or operated on campus. In addition, it provides clear expectations of campus departments to respond to particular issues, and act accordingly. Further, it aims to make Georgia Tech a better environment for bicyclists and non-cyclists alike. The policy applies to all bicycles used, stored, or operated on campus, including those belonging to faculty, staff, students, and visitors. This policy constrains the suite of locations that are considered acceptable bicycle parking spaces, and formalizes an expectation of campus denizens not to leave bicycles parked for undue lengths of time and/or in conditions that limit the ability of the bike rack to function effectively for other users. In addition, the policy explicitly identifies the required actions of Institute departments in responding to and removing bikes parked in violation of the policy, and encourages the registration of any bicycle to be operated or stored on campus.

Section 2.1 Registration

Voluntary Registration
All bicycles used, stored, or operated on the Georgia Institute of Technology campus are recommended to be registered with the Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD). Registration increases the likelihood that a bicycle may be reclaimed if stolen, returned if abandoned, or otherwise paired with its owner in case of separation. Owners may register their bikes at www.police.gatech.edu/services

Registration Display
Bicycle registration stickers are to be displayed on the interior face of the seat tube or bottom tube so as to be easily visible.

Section 2.2 Bicycle Parking

Bicycle Parking Where Permitted
Bicycles shall be parked, stored, or left on the Institute Campus only in areas specifically designated for such parking by the presence of racks or other devices designed for bicycle parking or when designated by the posting of signs indicating the space as a bicycle parking area.

Parking Prohibited
No bicycle shall be parked, stored, or left in the following areas:

  1. In any way so as to block or impede the normal flow of traffic on any highway, roadway, street, alley, sidewalk, mall, patio, parking area or bicycle path on the Institute.
  2. In a manner as to block or otherwise impede normal entrance to or exit from any building on the Institute (include within six feet of an entrance or exit unless in a bicycle rack or other designated bicycle parking area)
  3. On any building access or egress ramp
  4. In any way so as to interfere with or impede the normal movement of persons with disabilities, pedestrians or bicyclists upon ramps, stairways or curb cuts.
  5. Streets, highways, roadways, alleys, or bicycle paths or parking areas adjacent to a curb or cement device that is painted red, or any fire lane
  6. On any lawn or landscaped area except in those areas designated as a bicycle parking area by the presence of racks or other parking devices or signs indicating the area as a bicycle parking area.
  7. Any lobby, hallway or room of any building unless said area is specifically designated for bicycle parking.
    1. Designated areas must be in accordance with all Federal, State and local fire and safety regulations.
    2. This Section is not intended to prohibit the storing or parking of a bicycle in an area by any person to which the area or room has been assigned as that person's office or residence, e.g., a residence hall room or apartment. However, use of any assigned area for bicycle parking or storage may be restricted when, in the judgment of the person(s) responsible for the area, movement of the bicycle or use of the assigned space for bicycle parking or storage interferes with the routine activities normally conducted in the area or creates other problems. A bicycle stored inside a building must not be positioned so as to impede exiting in the event of an emergency.

Locking to Unauthorized Objects
No bicycle shall be chained or otherwise locked, or attached to any handrail, tree, shrubbery, door, signpost, lamp, telephone pole, lamppost, fence, or other object not maintained or designated for the purpose of securing bicycles.

Section 2.3 Bicycle Use

Shared Walkways
All bicycles may be operated on shared walkways in accordance with state laws, with the following additions:

  1. Bicyclists shall yield to pedestrians on all shared walkways.

Sidewalks
In accordance with Georgia state law, bicycles may not be operated on sidewalks.

Scope: 

This policy applies to all users, owners, or operators of bicycles on campus, including faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

Policy Terms: 

Bicycle Registration
A formal process of recording the serial number and owner of a bicycle with the Georgia Tech Police Department.

Sidewalk
Any campus walkway space 5 feet wide and narrower that is immediately adjacent to a roadway.

Shared Walkway
Any campus walkway space not immediately adjacent to a roadway, or walkway space immediately adjacent but wider than 5 feet.

Bike Rack
Any object expressly intended for the attachment and securing of a bicycle through the use of a locking mechanism. Examples may include “wave” racks, “swerve” racks, or “pi” racks.

Procedures: 

Bicycles in violation of these policies will be subject to the following procedures where applicable.

Section 5.1 Removal of Bicycles

Removal of Bicycles Procedure

1. Abandoned Bicycles: personnel authorized by Section 7.1 shall conduct sweeps (no less than once every year) for abandoned bicycles. During these sweeps, personnel shall tag bicycles with temporary tags that clearly state that the bicycle is being marked as potentially abandoned, as well as the date of planned removal. Said authorized personnel may also elect to inspect and potentially tag bicycles at any time in response to special requests from any member of the Georgia Institute of Technology campus community (i.e. Students, Staff, or Faculty). Bicycles tagged will have their location recorded and a photograph taken of the bike; both the location and photograph will be provided to all parties to the abandoned bicycle removal process. In addition, bicycles claimed this way are to be checked against the GTPD bike registration database, and any identified owners contacted and notified that their bicycle has been claimed as abandoned; the owner may claim it per Section 8.1.2. Fourteen days or more after the placement of the tag upon the bicycle, the bicycle shall be deemed abandoned and authorized for removal in accordance with these policies. Abandoned bicycles removed in this way will be held in storage by PTS at a facility specifically designated for said storage until after the minimum holding period of 30 days has passed, and thereafter will be donated to StarterBikes or the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.

2. Bicycles blocking emergency access: Bicycles blocking emergency access may be impounded immediately upon discovery of their placement, including the removal of any locking mechanisms. The Institute will store any bicycles impounded in this way in accordance with Section 5.1.1, and they will be subject to a $25 impound fee upon reclamation.

3. Bicycles blocking flow of traffic or other access: Bicycles blocking the follow of traffic or other access may be tagged as an obstruction by authorized personnel. If said bicycle is not removed within 24 hours, it may be impounded in accordance with the sections of this policy and its owner assessed a $25 impound fee upon reclamation.

4. Removal or Alteration of Obstructing Bike Part
Whenever any bicycle is found in violation of this Policy, and removal of the bicycle is called for according to its procedures, any Institute personnel authorized to enforce bicycle parking may use whatever reasonable measures necessary to move, alter or remove any part or component of the bicycle. Institute personnel so authorized to alter a bicycle in this manner, and the Institute, shall not be liable to the owner for damage or the cost of repair or replacement of such parts or components.

5. Waiver of Liability
Institute personnel so authorized to remove and impound a bicycle in the above manner and where removal of a locking mechanism or device is required, and the Institute, shall not be liable to the owner of the securing device or the owner of the bicycle for the cost of repair or replacement of such securing device or for damage to (or theft of) the bicycle while in possession of the Institute.

6. Removal of Locks and Locking Devices
Locks or locking devices left on parking racks, bicycle lockers, or parking devices not securing a bicycle, or left attached to any object not maintained or designated for the purpose of securing bicycles may be removed by authorized Institute personnel in accordance with the applicable bicycle removal policy. Institute personnel so authorized, and the Institute, shall not be liable to the owner of the securing device for the cost of repair or replacement of such securing device.

7. Impound Appeals
Any owner of a bicycle impounded in accordance with section 2.2 may, upon reclaiming their bicycle per 8.1.1, appeal the impound fee by contacting GTPD and requesting an appeals consideration.

8. Any appeals consideration must demonstrate that the bicycle was either (1) impounded improperly (i.e. not in accordance with section 5.1.2 and 5.1.3), or (2) was not in violation of section 2.2.2 when impounded.

9. Responsibility for conducting review of any appeals is delegated to GTPD.

10. Responsibility for reviewing appeals may be delegated to the Bicycle Infrastructure Improvement Committee (BIIC) at the discretion of the joint partners to this policy (GTPD, Facilities, and PTS).

Recommended Safe Practices

Section 9.1 Safe Cycling

Gear
Bicyclists are strongly recommended to wear a helmet at all times, particularly when sharing space with motor vehicles or riding at speed.

Bicycles are required to be equipped with lights and/or reflectors in accordance with state law, and all bicyclists are strongly encouraged to use prominent front and rear lights.

Behavior
Bicycles are vehicles under state law, and are treated as having the same rights and responsibilities as other vehicles unless explicitly restricted from a given area.

Bicyclists are allowed and encouraged to ride in the center of the traffic lane in cases where it is unsafe or problematic to ride further to the right, or when riding at the same speed as traffic. In these cases riding in the center of the lane may be safer, and is recommended accordingly.

When riding alongside pedestrian traffic, it is strongly recommended that bicyclists dismount and walk their bicycles. In cases where a bicycle can safely navigate pedestrian traffic bicyclists are expected to exercise courtesy and yield always to pedestrians.

Bicyclists are encouraged to be extra vigilant of other users when approaching intersections and riding alongside parked vehicles, where risks to safety may be higher.

Responsibilities: 

7.1 Responsibilities with Regard to Bicycles in Violation

Joint Responsibility
Parking and Transportation Services (PTS), Georgia Tech Police (GTPD) and Facilities shall act as shared and equal partners in the execution, maintenance, and operation of this Bicycle Use Policy.

Georgia Tech Police Department
The Georgia Tech Police Department (GTPD) is jointly authorized to move, relocate, immobilize, or impound any bicycle which:

  1. Is parked in violation of any of Section 2 of this policy;
  2. Appears to be abandoned as evidenced by signs of disuse or neglect, including but not limited to missing components, chains seized by rust, and the accumulation of wildlife;
  3. Has been reported as stolen to any law enforcement agency.
  • GTPD is jointly delegated the authority and responsibility to conduct sweeps for abandoned bicycles after the conclusion of the spring semester. Such authorization may be delegated to volunteers designated by GTPD and PTS.
  • Any bicycles which are tagged for removal will be inventoried and their serial number, make, and model kept on record by GTPD for purposes of potential return to owner in accordance with section 8.1.
  • GTPD is responsible for enforcing all applicable laws of the State of Georgia pertaining to bicycle operation and policies governing bicycle operation contained herein.
  • Parking and Transportation Services

    Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is jointly authorized to move, relocate, immobilize, or impound any bicycle which:

    1. Is parked in violation of any of Section 2 of this policy;
    2. Appears to be abandoned as evidenced by signs of disuse or neglect, including but not limited to missing components, chains seized by rust, and the accumulation of wildlife;
    3. Has been reported as stolen to any law enforcement agency.

    Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) is jointly delegated the authority and responsibility to conduct sweeps for abandoned bicycles after the conclusion of the spring semester. Such authorization may be delegated to volunteers designated by GTPD and PTS.

    Any bicycles tagged for removal will have their make, model, location, and serial number recorded by PTS or StarterBikes (once they have been moved into storage) and provided to GTPD and Facilities Management.

    PTS assumes the authority and responsibility to store unclaimed bicycles or have them stored at a designated location in accordance with this policy, to be held no less than the minimum time required by policy at a location of PTS’ determining. Said bicycles may be held by another organization provided that said partner stores and transfers the bicycles as dictated by this policy in partnership with PTS.

    Upon conclusion of the minimum required holding time, PTS will authorize transfer of ownership of all unclaimed bicycles to Starter Bikes or the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition for re-use.

    Facilities Management

    Facilities Management is jointly authorized to move, relocate, immobilize, or impound any bicycle which:

    1. Is parked in violation of any of Section 2 of this policy;
    2. Appears to be abandoned as evidenced by signs of disuse or neglect, including but not limited to missing components, chains seized by rust, and the accumulation of wildlife;
    3. Has been reported as stolen to any law enforcement agency.

    Georgia Tech Facilities Management is delegated the authority and responsibility for removing bicycles tagged by GTPD and PTS, provided that locations and images of each bicycle to be removed are provided in a timely manner to Facilities. Said bicycles shall be held until such time as they can be transferred to Parking and Transportation for storage.

    Enforcement: 

    8.1 Bicycle Impound Fee

    Impound Fee

    Any bicycle impounded pursuant to any section of this Policy not claimed in accordance with the abandoned bicycle policy shall be stored for a period of no less than three months. If, during that time, the owner of that bicycle wishes to reclaim it they may do so by contacting GTPD. Any bicycle being released must be demonstrated to be the property of the claiming party through display of registration, proof of purchase, or other unique identification. A fee of $25 shall be charged to the owner prior to the release of any impounded bicycle. Fees collected pursuant to this Section shall be retained to support programs related to bicycle safety, bicycle facilities improvement, the security of bicycles or the enforcement of those laws and regulations relating to bicycles or reasonably related matters. These fees will be collected and administered by GTPD.

    Any bicycle impounded in accordance with the abandoned bicycle policies covered above may be reclaimed by the owner of that bicycle as long as the following two conditions are met: (1) the bicycle must currently be in the possession of one of the parties to this policy (i.e. GTPD, PTS, or Facilities) or a designated partner (i.e. StarterBikes) and (2) the owner must demonstrate ownership through display of registration, proof of purchase, or other unique identification. No fee shall be charged to the owner for release of any bicycles collected through the abandoned bicycle removal process.

    Policy History: 
    Revision DateAuthorDescription
    09-25-2013Johann Weber (SGA)Policy draft updated in accordance with suggested changes at 9/25 meeting
    04-15-2014Johann Weber (SGA)Policy draft updated in accordance with suggested changes at 4/14 meeting
    5-5-2014Johann Weber (SGA)Policy changes made in accordance with Faculty Welfare and Security committee comments
    5-12-2014Johann Weber (SGA)Policy language changes per comments
    5-16-2014Johann Weber (SGA)Policy language changes per comments