The Chainlink

Those orange bikes locked to the racks in Wicker Park are advertisements

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150126/wicker-park/orange-bike-mar...

I've been wondering what the orange bikes on the bike racks are. Turns out that they're ads for a gym. 

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Yasmeen said:

While I don't like this form of advertising, vandalizing is not the answer. 

This “form of advertising” is vandalism. Just because it has a commercial message doesn't make it not vandalism. (In some ways, it makes it even worse! Legitimate businesses shouldn't behave this way.)

 

The act of hanging advertisements on public fixtures is, in itself, illegal and subject to action from the City. And in this case, it's not just an aesthetic or ethical problem -- the everyday function of those fixtures is also seriously compromised, obstructing usable parking in a neighborhood where it’s already often scarce. 

Removing these “bikes” ourselves is just good citizenship, like picking up garbage or painting over graffiti. 

I agree with Nikul - this is theft or vandalism to break a lock or do anything to these bikes. If this was a car that had parked on a street and was covered in ads for a local pizza place, that would not be illegal. As much as it is annoying to have these bikes clog our bike racks, I think the only real answer is to voice that opinion respectfully to the owner or franchisee. It sounds like they are open to removing the bikes when someone complains. As a cyclist, I do think it is important to take the high road and work with the communities we live and ride in. Breaking locks and vandalizing bikes you isn't a way to endear us to our community.


Nikul Shah said:

The bikes still belong to someone despite the fact they are wrongfully (and illegally?) attached to a bike rack. Removing them yourself is theft.

I contacted Orange Theory by email. they replied that all bikes had been removed as of yesterday. I have hard time cutting and pasting their reply.

Does anyone still see any bikes as of this morning?
I emailed the Wicker Park chamber of commerce and the 1st ward alderman's office over the weekend. I doubt that had a direct impact but was pleasantly surprised to see the two along my commute had been removed this morning. I encourage others to do the same if you spot anymore out there.

Are you sure about that?

Yasmeen said:

If this was a car that had parked on a street and was covered in ads for a local pizza place, that would not be illegal.

Ran out of time but I found plenty to support that this gym is conducting an illegal advertising campaign, including: http://chicagocode.org/10-8-325/

As amusing as it would have been to unilaterally remove the bikes Yasmeen's course of contacting Orange Therapy makes more sense. We educate rather than alienate a gym. Gyms are usually friendly to cyclists. Maybe that will come to roost at some future time when a cyclist or cyclists are looking  for a sponsor, donor or advertiser.  They screwed up and the community pointed that out. The bikes are removed. There is a place to park and all is kismet in the city of Wild Onions. 

I completely agree with David B and Yasmeen that removing the bikes unilaterally would only have been a reasonable approach if going through "proper" channels hadn't produced any results.
 
David Barish said:

As amusing as it would have been to unilaterally remove the bikes Yasmeen's course of contacting Orange Therapy makes more sense. We educate rather than alienate a gym. Gyms are usually friendly to cyclists. Maybe that will come to roost at some future time when a cyclist or cyclists are looking  for a sponsor, donor or advertiser.  They screwed up and the community pointed that out. The bikes are removed. There is a place to park and all is kismet in the city of Wild Onions. 

Attaching advertisements to public fixtures, like bike racks, is unambiguously illegal.

See, for example, here: 10-8-320 Posting bills.

And here: 10-28-064 Advertising signs.

(Or, if you still think these are bikes, and bearing in mind that the gym originally planned to leave these things in place for several months, here: 9-52-071 Abandonded bicycles.)

If these signs, these promotional gimmicks, weren’t bike-shaped — imagine they were old bed frames or hubcaps or garbage bags filled with half-eaten cheeseburgers or something — would we be having this kind of conversation? It seems to me the obligation here is on those who would argue that “theft” of non-bike trash left locked to bike racks is of any particular ethical concern.

That is, while I appreciate the desire to be conciliatory, I'm unconvinced that there's anything wrong with helping to keep the shared stuff we use every day clean and accessible, whether it's clearing out snow or picking up garbage or removing advertising placed in apparent bad faith by disrespectful and/or ignorant marketeers. That there’s some legitimate business involved lends no legitimacy to the deliberate creation of a public nuisance, to vandalism, to littering, to the obstruction of a public good. Never mind the attempt to gain profit via the (prohibited) exploitation of city infrastructure for low-cost advertising. 

Some kind of respectful petition drive or whatever may be one possible “high road,” and I'd never tell you not to take that approach. But quietly solving the problem ourselves, should it reoccur, is not the low road. I’m not advocating anything particularly dramatic.

They did this in Evanston about a year or so ago.

How can have them removed? Maybe a night time project?

And chain them across the front door of the location setting them out?

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