Tel Aviv is a wonderful city, probably the most modern of cities in Israel. It is very cycling friendly with over 120km of bike paths and the Tel-O-Fun bike rental system.
However the latest move from the local municipal council is at best strange in trying to encourage people to cycle in the city.
The Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipal council has taken to impounding parked bicycles that their inspectors deem disrupt pedestrian or car traffic access.
Predictably there has been a wave of complaints over the policy with many bike owners believing bikes have been removed erroneously and without warning. The number of complaints did lead to a subtle change in policy from the authorities. Municipal inspectors now have to attach a warning to the bike saying it will be removed unless moved, and are only able to remove the bike 24 hours later.
This is the official statement from the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality:
“To remove obstacles that interfere with pedestrians, the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipality has decided not to allow bicycles to be tied up in places where they are liable to constitute a danger to passersby. Bicycles that are parked and left in places where they block or impede pedestrian or vehicular traffic, and aren’t removed by the time specified in the warning notice left by the inspection department, will be removed by the city and kept in a municipal warehouse for a limited time.”
Retrieve or find it in the trash
Owners of confiscated bikes have a month to retrieve their bike from a council warehouse. If they don’t the bikes are trashed.
The question of bike parking is always a sore issue for cyclists. When you can’t find a bike stand, most of us use any unmovable object to lock against and don’t really give it a second thought unless there is a sign that tells us not to do so.
Surely the best situation in Tel Aviv is for the local council to spend money adding to the wholly inadequate bike parking (only 3,000 spaces) situation there is in the city rather than penalising cyclists and making cycling a less viable option to those wanting to be in the city.