Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Is Indianapolis a Bicycle Friendly City? A Different Angle

While browsing through the blog at The Indy Cog, I came across this entry dated March 29, 2010:

Dear Mayor Ballard,

I was extremely excited and grateful to be invited, along with the rest of the INDYCOG staff and other regional cycling organization officials, to a meeting with representatives from your office last Friday at the City-County Building to discuss a future proposition for cycling in Indianapolis. This effort, along with the Indy BikeWays efforts by yourself and Andy Lutz at the DPW, have shown great promise and support for cycling in the city.

I wanted to discuss something else that might be beneficial to the recognition of cycling as a viable form of transportation in Indianapolis. Along with my materials for the meeting, I brought with me standard bike tools (bike pump, multi-tool, wrench) carried by most commuters in the case they might need to make a minor repair on their ride. While packing for the meeting, I even thought to leave my pocket knife at home, as I knew for a fact this would not be allowed inside the City-County Building.

At the security gate, I passed my messenger bag and jacket through the X-ray as instructed, and was immediately put on alarm. The security personnel had me explain to them each item in my bag, passed my bag through again, then told me that to be admitted to the building I would have to leave my bag out with my bike because my bike pump, multi-tool, wrench, and even my red tail light was not allowed inside the building. I was told that if I didn’t leave them outside with my bike, they would be confiscated and not returned to me. Because these items are valuable, I wasn’t about to leave them outside on my bike, as there would be no way to secure them; I had to ride to a friend’s house and stash these items there, making me almost 30 minutes late to the meeting. Another member of INDYCOG had a similar incident, and took the chance to leave his gear outside in an inconspicuous place (luckily, it was where he left it upon return).

You can read the full entry here.

While this isn't the most pressing issue our city faces, it does bring up how bicycle friendly our city really is if our city government won't even accommodate bikers so they can do business at the City-County Building. The re-modeling of the City Market might give some solutions to bike storage, but I don't think people should have to shell out bucks just to go in and attend a council meeting or pay a parking citation. They should be able to chain it to a fence or tree, bring their non-weaponry in, do their business, and leave.


  1. Thanks for reminding me about this. I actually received a call from the Sheriff's office about this, and need to call them back to follow-up. You raise good and legitimate points, and it's still an issue I'm concerned about. Glad you're taking it up as a cause as well. The more the CCB hears about this issue, the more likely they'll be inclined to change their policy.


  2. Chris, before I was a pseudo-cyclist, I was a walker. Usually with a backpack. And if I have one item in there that isn't "allowed" in, well, it's not like I can go across the street and stash it in my car. This should be an issue that any law abiding citizen should be concerned with. I understand the need for security, but we're law abiding citizens and those of us who bike, walk, or take the bus should have some method of storing our "contraband" in a secure, low cost or free manner.


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