Post-Homecoming cleanup could take your bike

Some things are harder to shovel than others, like bikes locked to racks on the sidewalk. Once a year, all the bikes in Dinkytown must be removed from the racks so that city workers can clean the sidewalk and prepare walkways for winter shoveling. This means bike owners could lose their legally parked bicycles if they leave them locked to a city rack for too long, based on a police officerâÄôs observations. This year, the cleanup could fall on the Sunday following Homecoming, Skott Johnson, Dinkytown Business Association president said . The purpose of the cleanup is to remove abandoned bikes and clumps of bike parts from public racks so city workers can plow the sidewalks during winter, Johnson said. Johnson decides when the sidewalks will be cleaned, and this year, he said, Homecoming fell late enough in the fall that the two could coincide. Before the cleanup, police put tags on bikes locked to the public racks, warning owners to move them. Then, two or three days later, the remaining bikes are taken to the police impound to be sold at police auctions. The bikes âÄúmake a big obstacleâÄù for the cleaning crew because they interfere with snow plowing and street restoration, Johnson said. Benches and a-frame business signs are also cleared from Dinkytown sidewalks so city workers can clean and perform maintenance on lighting fixtures, Johnson said. But bikes can be removed on public racks anywhere in Minneapolis if police think they are abandoned, Casper Hill, city spokesperson said. If police think a bike has been abandoned at a rack, they can tag it, giving the owner 24 hours to remove it, Hill said. While students should make sure their bikes donâÄôt have tags, Sgt. Erik Stenemann of the University of Minnesota Police said the bike racks on campus donâÄôt usually need to be cleared for sidewalk cleaning. âÄúGenerally, if youâÄôre using a bike rack, youâÄôre not going to see any hiccups at the University,âÄù Stenemann said. He attributes this to University Parking and Transportation Services, which places the racks in a meticulous way, allowing crews to shovel snow and maintain clear foot and bike paths. Hill said Minneapolis police can immediately remove bikes attached to trees and public handrails without any forewarning and take them to the impound lot to wait for auction. Bicycle and vehicle auctions are held at the Minneapolis Police Property and Evidence Unit six miles southwest of the University. This yearâÄôs final auction begins at 4 p.m. on Thursday. The bikes impounded from Friday on will be sold at next yearâÄôs auctions. To verify if police have impounded your bike, call (612) 673-5777.