Grove City Record

Register your bike with police: It's the (seldom followed) law

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

With warmer weather is returning to central Ohio, plenty of people are looking to get back on their bicycles.

In Grove City, that also supposed to mean registering bikes with the Grove City Division of Police.

Section 373.11(a) of the city code states, "No person shall operate or use a bicycle, propelled wholly or in part by muscular power, upon any of the streets, alleys or public highways of the City, the ownership of which has not been registered with the Division of Police and which does not display license plates."

Ownership of all bicycles in Grove City has been required to be registered with the police division since 1963, though officials know it's grown to be a rarity in recent years.

Registration is also free for bike owners and is required to be done by March 31, at the Municipal Safety Complex, 3360 Park St.

Police Chief Steve Robinette said bike registration is not intended as a punitive action but as a positive program.

"The biggest reason is, we recover a significant number of bikes every year," he said. "We file the information (when bikes are registered), and if the bike gets stolen and recovered, we can track it."

Every year, Robinette said, the police division recovers hundreds of lost or stolen bicycles.

"There is a likelihood we can get that bike back if we have something to check against it," he said. "If we don't have a record of the bike, away it goes."

Without registration information, the bike remains in storage until the department either auctions it off or donates it to a charity organization. The division doesn't make much money selling the bikes, Robinette said, and getting rid of the backlog is mainly a storage concern.

"These organizations will rehab the bikes and most of the time then donate them to underprivileged kids," Robinette said. "They put them to good use."

In 2010, 38 bicycles were registered with police in Grove City. In 2011, that number was 14. So far, in 2013, the number of bikes registered is four.

"It's not as high as we would like," Robinette said. "Hopefully, these (numbers) will pick up."

According to the legislation passed by City Council in 1963, not registering a bike is a misdemeanor and the violator is subject to a fine of up $25. But in the city code itself, there is no mention of what the penalty is for not getting a bicycle registered.

Robinette said officers aren't looking to cite people for not registering their bikes.

"I don't know of anyone who's ever been cited for not having a bike sticker," Robinette said.

Neither does City Law Director Stephen Smith, who said the code might have to be clarified.

"I don't ever recall seeing a case on this," Smith said. "Theoretically, it's still applicable. ... Right now, (the code) is a little bit inconsistent."

More information about bicycles in Grove City is available online at police.grovecityohio.gov under the Crime Prevention tab.

Robinette said important measures to remember include wearing helmets, securing unattended bikes, equipping reflector lights and making sure all parts are in working order.

"The biggest thing to remember is a bike has to follow the same rules as a motor vehicle," he said.

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