COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- The University of Missouri planned to impound bikes starting Monday that are found locked to light poles, trees or railings on the Columbia campus.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reported that the crackdown is in response to students bringing more bikes this year and parking them wherever they can find a spot when nearby bike racks are full.
Steve Burdic, the university's sustainability coordinator, said people might get accustomed to entering a facility from a certain door, but he thinks most people can find a spot to park, even if they have to walk a little farther. The university has 5,000 slots for bicycles.
"We're asking people to take a look around the building to see if there's an empty bike rack close and to use it," he said. "Most people driving a car, if they're late, don't just drive up and park on a sidewalk."
City officials said the bike chains, straps or locks can damage small trees. They can flop over and create tripping hazards when attached to light posts. And the bikes can create challenges for people with disabilities when attached to railings.
"We realize that impounding bikes is a drastic step, and we don't want to do that," Burdic said. "We have been running an informational campaign. We've been putting warnings out for a week and a half now, tagging bikes parked on lamps. And we'll continue doing that, but I think there will be some bikes impounded."
Freshmen Princess Lyons and Janae Judon sat outside the student center Friday afternoon with their bikes parked near their table. They said they often find the spots in bike racks are already taken.
"We could use more racks," Judon said. "More people are using bikes."
Burdic said his department is figuring out where more racks are needed the most.
Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com