Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Bolt cutters used to solve bike parking snafu

Posted by on February 9th, 2008 at 7:28 pm

No metal was safe from bikes at the NAHBS today.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregon Convention Center was overwhelmed with guests arriving by bike for the North American Handmade Bicycle Show (NAHBS) today.

As crowds hit their peak around mid-day today, hundreds of bikes were locked to every piece of metal in sight. Convention Center staff tried to alert show-goers that they would remove (or “tow”) bikes that were not in designated bike parking areas. They made announcements over the PA system and placed at least one sign on one of the center’s doors.

But that wasn’t enough and some visitors had their locks cut with bolt cutters wielded by Convention Center security guards.

Reader Jeff T. noticed one such security guard working on the U-Locks of two bikes parked just north of the main entrance. He took this video from his cell phone…

The day before the show, NAHBS organizers announced that indoor bike parking for 500 bicycles would be available, but by 1:30 or so there was barely a spot available.

While a hassle and an annoyance for some, others took it in stride. One commenter said the “packed to the gills” indoor bike parking area was one of their favorite parts of the show. He said,

“Watching bikes hunt for parking spots always puts a grin on my face. We should be so lucky to have that problem every day! There were some gems tucked in there as well, sort of like an Easter egg hunt for well ridden hand built frames. Very cool.”

NAHBS organizers say they’ll take steps to prevent problems tomorrow.

Volunteer coordinator and operations coordinator Bob Mandelson says they’ve ordered 10 additional racks for the tomorrow that should increase parking capacity by about 100-200 bikes. He says they’ll ask for as many racks as they can get. More signage directing visitors to available parking and warning them about where not to park will also be posted.

The show begins at 9:30 tomorrow and doors close at 5:00.

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heather andrews
Guest
heather andrews

For a LEED-certified building, hosting a continent-wide bike show, in Bike City USA, I\’m pretty disappointed in their behavior. They didn\’t take these extreme measures when the same thing happened at Wordstock (see URL below)…and at that time, there was still bike parking available in the parking garage!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wildsheepchase/133192373/

That having been said, I was beyond grateful for the manned bike parking. The man staffing it was great, he even stayed past when he said he\’d be gone. What a mensch.

nikromatt
Guest
nikromatt

Kind of ironic that in the most bike friendly city in the country. At one of the most premier bike shows in the country. The city turns out not to so bike friendly after all.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Not a very bike-friendly bike show, is it?

leftcoaster
Guest
leftcoaster

Friendly correction…

crowds hit THEIR peak…

and

WHERE not to park

Ed
Guest

Nice work Jeff…Team Beer is always keeping an eye out for the bad guys.

You should come over the next time Tony T and I have frame building night.

Bikelawya
Guest
Bikelawya

Bring the show back to California, we have buildings big enough to handle the crowds, and won\’t cut locks.

Zaphod
Guest

The bikes didn\’t appear to be causing anyone any hardship or introducing risk of any kind. The attitude and actions of our finest is really disheartening. What could possibly be the point of busting locks? I\’d love to hear their justification.

It\’s actions like that which make me think of the relationship between police and cyclists as an us-versus-them which is not the attitude I want to embrace.

Patrick
Guest
Patrick

That video is cracking me up. Thinking about this guy going home all fired up. Popping open a cold one and telling his wife about how hard his day was, how he had to bust out the bolt cutters and cut a few locks. You can\’t make this stuff up, this is a classic……

On a more serious note. Is that guy in the video taking one of the bikes? And where do they put the bikes once they are cut?

James B
Guest
James B

This really suprises me for PDX.
Crazy, it\’s not like the bikes were blocking anything or causing harm or inconvenience, that security guard should get a jobsworth award.

todd
Guest
todd

ha! those bikes are dutch, owned by the good people at Dutch Bike Co. Seattle, and the cutters failed to work on the hardened square-profile chains that plug into the wheel locks. awesome. and yeah, embarrassing that this happens in portland, as if the bikes were causing trouble.

Evan
Guest
Evan

Great. Nice job Convention Center. If the person who ordered this to happen doesn\’t get fired for the national black eye this will give both Portland AND the convention center…
Maybe now they\’ll think twice about getting more bike parking for future events.

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

Is there another venue that could be used for future bike-related events? Someplace more friendly and larger, if need be? It would be nice to rent a venue that isn\’t run by scurvey dogs.

Liz
Guest
Liz

Sounds like a snafu for sure, but I must say, it sure looks to me like the bikes on the video were on a handrail at the top of some stairs. Locking bikes there could create both a danger to pedestrians who need to use the railing to safely maneuver the stairs, as well as a liability to the Convention Center for not keeping the handrail/stairs clear.

Hopefully they were just targeting those areas, rather then the more out of the way spaces, like the bikes surrounding the bell in the top picture.

a.O
Guest
a.O

What an embarrassment for Portland. These people should be ashamed of themselves. Like I said before, only one word for this: douchebag. Absolutely no public health or safety justification whatsoever. Just a masturbatory exercise of State power.

Asher
Guest
Asher

I was one of the unlucky ones to have my lock cut. I came to the bike show with a friend from out of town and we got there around 10:30 and locked up both bikes with one lock around a stair rail away from the main entrances. There were many bikes locked to the stairs rails (as the video shows) and I was glad to find a spot, even at that early hour.

I had read in advance stern warnings about not being allowed to bring bikes inside, so once inside amidst the noisy frenzy when I vaguely heard blah, blah, blah, cutting locks, blah, blah, blah, it didn\’t even mentally register as an announcement concerning me. Instead, I must have thought it had something to do with people who had tried to bring their bikes inside. Or I didn\’t think about it at all because the days of parking restrictions hadn\’t concerned me since getting rid of my car several years ago. When I left the show and found the stair rails eerily void of bikes I quickly put two and two together and almost had to laugh. Here I was dragging an out of town friend to a bike show in Biketown USA and our bikes had been \”towed\”. Kind of a good problem to have I guess.

The story I got was that our bikes were in a \”fire exit\” and had to be immediately removed to ensure public safety. Post 9-11 I guess there is no taking chances, so learning lessons based on \”human factors\” and making adjustments the following day by posting real signs and instructing the event ticket takers to mention the parking rules just wasn\’t a reasonable option.

The good news is that I learned my lock was “really strong” and the fire department had be called in to cut it with a saw. Good PR for Kryptonite, but calling a fire truck out to clear the hazard seems a bit over the top. Plus losing a $50 lock does kind of sting.

As annoying as this is, I caulk it up to people \”just doing their job\” in an irrational climate around public safety concerns.

wholepair
Guest

I agree with Liz that the Convention Center was justified thinking about pedestrian safety and only clearing designated areas to assure that visitors to the show will continue to have free use of the railing for safely maneuvering the stairs. I was going to bring my grandmother tomorrow but now that I see how many inconsiderate self-righteous hipsters there are there I think I will bake her cookies instead. Its not like the bicycles were stolen from their owners. NO HARM NO FOUL, atmo…

SH
Guest
SH

when it comes to bikes, leave it to Portland to make a dick of itself in front of the entire continent

John Russell
Guest

Here\’s what I\’m wondering: what would happen if a man dressed in a fake—but official-looking—uniform of some sort went around cutting the locks on bikes? From the looks of the video, it looks like only one person even comes up to the guard, if even to ask why they were removing bikes.

dat
Guest

Folks OCC is owned by Metro…

Vance
Guest

For all of you, \”cycling community\”, types bemoaning the actions of the OCC, and their parent Corporation, Metro, what about SAFETY! Safety-first, safety-first, safety-first! Be glad it was locks, and not a tubing cutter to the frame. Which is the Portland of old.

I\’m surprised that Scott Bricker didn\’t show up with an ill-prepared, rambling speech about how fire-safety is killing his little girls; and how we all need to sacrifice our civil-rights to protect HIS family. Finally, over-zealous safety concerns have bitten the hand that feeds them. Too bad everyone in the, \”cycling community\”, is so far above reproach. They could have learned something from all of this.

jenn
Guest
jenn

as I was leaving I overheard two security officers talking and they were like we can\’t get those locks off what the hell do they make those things out of we need to get those bikes off of there blah blah blah. it was just funny though cause they couldn\’t do it.

alex
Guest
alex

why didn\’t anyone call the police and report bike thieves at work at the convention center?

Bob K
Guest
Bob K

There is never enough bike parking at the Convention Center regardless of the event. This is a problem that needs to be addressed by Metro. I plan on writing them a letter.

Sanguinity
Guest
Sanguinity

Oh, please.

The abelism in this comment thread is disgusting. Stair railings are there because some people need them to get up and down stairs safely. Just because you don\’t need them, doesn\’t mean that no one needs them.

Additionally, the reason people can afford to think the fire code is irrelevant is because the fire code works. You actually get to believe that fire in public buildings isn\’t an issue anymore, precisely because the fire code has been so good at preventing fatal fires in public buildings. Additionally, enforcing the fire code has nothing to do with 9/11—fire marshals were committed to enforcing the fire code long before that.

I agree that the show organizers egregiously failed their responsibilities by not supplying enough bicycle parking. But that does not suddenly make stair railings and fire exits irrelevant, either. If you locked your bike to a stair railing, then you screwed up. It isn\’t everyone else\’s job to indulge you in your errors. Nor should it be.

Duncan
Guest
Duncan

Hey everyone,
I work in safety, and clearing a fire exit is a big deal. I know it looks wide open but imagine if everyone had to leave the CC due to an emergency (like a fire.) … it isn\’t safe- and while the CC should have provided more bike parking, if you parked your car in a fire lane and come back tto find it towed, would you be surprised?

Just be glad they didnt charge you for towing your bike.

pants o fire
Guest

Hey Asher, I saw the fire dept chop saw your lock, take a monment to ha-ha as the guy positioned the saw to throw the sparks at his pant leg.

HE CAUGHT HIS PANTS ON FIRE!

They actually had a pair of holes burnt in them and were smoldering, everyone laughed and pointed.

girl
Guest
girl

that\’s my bike!!! when i arrived at the show, at the 10:35 mark, the guy who walked my bike away told me my bike was able to lock there. there were no signs that early in the day. i realize that the staff who told me this was purely volunteer based, but they were misinformed on how to deal with people locking to those hand rails.

when i came to find my bike missing, which sent me into a mode of panic, the man who cut my lock stood there like nothing had happened. i was belittled for wanting information about my bike\’s location and my lock replaced because they misinformed people.

jeff t, could you please email me (twoweekoldsushi at yahoo)? i want to thank you for getting this video on the internet. i want a replacement lock (mini\’s aren\’t cheap and i don\’t make a lot of money), this may be the only leverage i have.

Tankagnolo Bob
Guest
Tankagnolo Bob

I see the word \”SNAFU\” used to mean \”A one time error\”. The military origion of SNAFU is an acronym, the first two words are \”Situation Normal\”. The rest is easy.

So whan someone in congress says \”It was just a snafu\”, you will know that either they were never in the military, or they know it is \”Situation Normal\”.

Robert Dobbs
Guest
Robert Dobbs

It cracks me up to think how many bolt cutter blades were ruined on the hardened square-link chains.

Talk about an ounce of prevention – some better signage and more bike parking would have avoided the entire problem.

Go Metro!

Vance
Guest

Oh c\’mon girl24 – \”… 16.70.330 Impounding Bicycles.
B. A bicycle may be immediately impounded if:
1. It is parked in violation of this code and obstructs or impedes pedestrian or vehicular traffic; or
2. It is an immediate threat to the public welfare. …\”

I thought this was common knowledge. Why would they have to put up a sign, at taxpayer expense? The ordinance immediately preceding this one, in the Charter, #16.70.320 states: \”… Leave a bicycle so that it obstructs vehicle or pedestrian traffic on a roadway, sidewalk, driveway, handicap access ramp, building entrance, or so that it prevents operation of a parking meter or newspaper rack; …\” If you violated this commonly known city code, you likely did so with full knowledge. At which point, you are asking for special treatment when you complain about sign-age from the position of having violated said code. You thought it would be kool. You apparently thought wrong. Get over it.

Jed
Guest
Jed

My bike was one of the bikes that were removed too. I had locked my bike to the stair rail the day before with no incident. I used the same spot on Saturday. I heard the announcement inside and didn\’t think it would be a big deal if I waited for a bit before I went to move my bike. Boy, I was wrong. Anyway, the convention center was appolgetic & friendly about it. I\’m mostly just bummed that bike parking options weren\’t more clearly marked.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

It\’s totally understandable that the Convention Center and the Fire Marshal would be concerned about safety at the exits.

What isn\’t understandable– or acceptable– is that the Convention Center was utterly unprepared to meet the demand for appropriate bike parking facilities at a bike show in Portland.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Rixtir,

Any idea how Metro/MERC been able to predict the number of bike riding attendees? The show arranged for 500 spots, why would they think they needed more? Hopefully they will learn from what, seems to be, an honest miscalculation. Sort of like the yahoos who decided to hold this event at a venue in a bike friendly city that was unable to accomodate the number of overall visitors.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Steve, I think when a convention is held, the organizers have a very good idea of the amount of business they expect to generate.

In this case, it appears likely that the Convention Center organizers, most of whom probably drive to get around, did not factor one thing into their calculations– that in bike-loving Portland, people attending the bike show would by-and-large arrive there on bikes.

Seabird
Guest
Seabird

Come on you guys… you need to grow out this naive me vs. the man high school mentality… I sat at the show and watched all of this business go down and I can guarantee you that guy wasn\’t getting off on cutting locks. The convention center is a public place and has to meet public policy and codes. The top of those stairs and handrails were with bicycles. Think about the liability the city faces if some old person or pregnant lady or who knows what takes a nose dive going down the stairs because they couldn\’t get their hands on the rail. It would be over. Like it or not as a public entity the city and the convention center have to meet certain laws and protocol for public safety and they\’re not going to forgo them just because it\’s not cool and they want to be hip with all the cyclists. There may not have been an overt sign there but most people who locked their bikes knew better and there was a guy walking around telling people to not lock their bikes to the rails in a nice manner. You guys need to loosen up those bandanas around your necks and let some blood into your brains.

BURR
Guest
BURR

sort of like the good folks at PDOT that failed to provide enough on-street bike parking in the Pearl and then got promotions for their incompetence. Everyone locks their bikes to the trees, railings and street furniture there, too.

JayS.
Guest
JayS.

Today there was plenty of open parking in the garage and some at racks when I arrived just after 11:00 and when I left just before 3:00. Great show!! Lets all remember to share the sidewalk and the road and leave the wheelchair access ramp, stairways, and fire lanes and aisles free of bikes.

JayS.

Stripes
Guest
Stripes

If the Convention Center actually had enough proper bicycle parking outside its facility (staple racks, long racks, whatever…) then maybe bicyclists wouldn\’t NEED to lock up to poles, fences, handrails.

Two measley Convention Center bikeracks on the sidewalk of MLK (which are often full) is not going to cut it much longer.

girl
Guest
girl

vance,

obviously this is not common knowledge. had i known, i wouldn\’t have violated something when i knew there was a chance my bike would be gone. for you to assume that i wanted to look \”kool\” is utterly ridiculous. i parked it there with an OK from a volunteer – surprisingly enough, he too was not under the \”common knowledge\” of all the city codes, and i\’m sure had he been he would have happily spoken up for the welfare of a fellow cyclist.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Rixtir,

You\’ve just made my point, the organizers (NAHBS/Don Walker, not Metro/MERC) should have had a better idea of attendance and transportation modes and reserved space accordingly. The CC staff did what they thought they should to mitigate the show\’s lack of preparedness.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Does anyone know what the requirements are for bicycle parking (if there are any)for new construction, I wonder if there is a percentage ie. diabled parking?

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

I doubt that NAHBS, being an out-of-town operation, really understood the extent to which Portlander\’s get around by bike. It even appears that NAHBS underestimated attendance, judging by the Fire Marshall\’s actions.

But the Convention Center is not an out-of-town organization, and they were woefully unprepared to host this event, as evidenced by the lack of appropriate bike-parking facilities.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I would agree that the convention center(CC) certainly does not have enough bicycle parking facilities to serve this particular show, but maintain that it is the producer of the show\’s responsibitity to gauge attendance demographics not the CC.

JayS.
Guest
JayS.

There are a number of racks permanently installed in the parking garage. Most of them are vertical racks. THe CC should have signs at the outdoor rack noting where more racks, including the covered ones, are. The Rose Garden has a nice bike parking area but it would have needed extras for this event.

I do not believe that, in this day and age, the CC should have permanent facilities for the number of bikes on sight this weekend. They should have a contingency plan for events that are likely to attract large numbers of riders.

Wasn\’t it SHIFT or the BTA that had bike parking as a fund raiser at some events? If they are not still doing this I think a good private enterprise could be created. Promoters of events should see the value of the investment.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Steve, I\’m not so naive as to believe that the Convention Center didn\’t pitch itself as being an appropriate venue– perhaps the BEST venue– for this event.

BURR
Guest
BURR

the bottom line is that the event and venue staff should have seen this situation developing and acted proactively to head it off, rather than waiting until it was too late and responding reactively.

Now I\’m glad they didn\’t get any of my money.

Maybe it\’s time to revamp the city\’s bike parking code again, it\’s been awhile and it doesn\’t seem to be working very well anymore.

girl
Guest
girl

i agree, burr.

bahueh
Guest
bahueh

I just love this holier than thou thing that many people put out about this subject…I mean come-on for those of you who had your lock cut and are whining about it…would you park in a handicapped spot just to get closer to the door?

was putting your bike two or three blocks away going to kill you? you broke safety codes…own up to it and learn from it and move on with your life…its hardly a \”black eye\” for Porltand…its a black eye on you.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

Every one of you who is raising the \”safety issue\” is missing the point. Yes, there are public safety codes in place, and people should use appropriate parking.

The problem is that not enough bike parking was provided (at a bike show in Portland, of all places!), and THAT is something that the Convention Center should have addressed before the event, not after people began locking up to hand railings.

rixtir
Guest
rixtir

It\’s as if the organizers of the Oregon Country Fair didn\’t foresee that their target demographic would show up wearing patchouli…