Saturday, October 21, 2017
Last updated: 2 years ago

Op-ed: The condition of my bicycle isn’t any of student housing’s business

Photo Cherihan Hassun / The Ubyssey

Photo Cherihan Hassun / The Ubyssey

Bike thieves have got to be one of the most galling collections of people that operate in our society. This is particularly relevant to students here at UBC. Many of us are all too aware of the constant paranoia that plagues bike owners — one day they will go to get on their bicycle and it’ll be gone — maybe a broken, overpriced bike lock will be remain, but that just serves as a visual reminder of your absent possession. Pretty much everyone with a bike here goes to great lengths to keep it safe. A bike has monetary value, something we as students have to be especially wary of, but it is more than that, it’s your way around campus, an ever-present companion that many will feel distraught to be without. To have it stolen is heartbreaking and infuriating.

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However, I’m not writing this to complain about conventional bike thieves: there’s a new threat to bikes on campus. The ever-dependable and amicable SHHS (Student Housing and Hospitality Services) has devised a new inconvenience for students living in residence (at least in Fairview) — or perhaps resurrected an old one (I doubt this is the first year of the practice.) If SHHS deems your bike to be in vaguely described “poor condition” they will stick a label on it. You might be thinking ‘that doesn’t sound too annoying’ but here’s the kicker: if you don’t remove this tag and call SHHS and report the code on the label within a week, your bike will be taken. I assume this means they will cut your expensive bike lock that you bought to protect it from thieves. You then have one month to reclaim your bike, although your lock is probably beyond repair, before it is gone permanently.

While it is only a removal of a tag and a phone call to protect your bike, even this is inconvenient, another unnecessary thing to worry about in our busy lives. Furthermore, the email to notify residents of this process was sent out only one day prior to the start of the tagging. Dealing with these nagging issues is not what we pay for when we live on rez, but the worrying thing is that we are getting used to these invasive practices because they are so commonplace. We’ve paid our rent so please let us live in our houses in peace.

  • mar

    While that is annoying for bike owners, I’m assuming the reason for the practice is so that SHHS can get rid of abandoned bikes left by past residents. If the owner of the bike moved out of Fairview with no intention of taking their bike, then the bike is just sitting there clogging up bike rack space. SHHS has to try and get rid of these abandoned bikes somehow.

  • Brandon Wong

    Is this to say that bike owners that don’t own “nice” bikes will get a sticker? If I can’t afford a high-end bike, so I purchase a used, old, second hand one, do I get a sticker?

    Sound’s a bit messed up to me.

    • Jeff

      I believe the intention is for bikes that appear to be abandoned (rather than “appear to be inexpensive”) to be ‘stickered’, so that they do not take up space on the bike racks forevermore.

      And even if your bike is ‘mis-stickered’ (e.g. because it is so inexpensive that it looks dilapidated/abandoned), the only real hardship imposed upon you is to let SHHS know within a week. Or, if you miss that deadline, to go retrieve it from them within a month.