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Old 24.05.2012, 13:47
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Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

Hi all. Some time ago I was down in Lugano and I locked my bike to the fence next to the lake. There was nothing to indicate that I was not allowed to park there.

When I came back to get my bike later it had a second padlock around it. At first I had no idea who had locked it and just waited next to my bike. Eventually some guy came and said he had locked my bike because I had parked underneath his sign for boat rental. It is true that my bike was under his sign, but it was not blocking it at all. I got very mad at the guy for wasting my time when I did nothing to harm his business at all.

My question is does he own the area underneath his sign, (despite the sign being on a fence that runs the whole length of the promenade) from a legal point of view? Did he have a legal right to do what he did, or could I have gone to the police and got him into trouble for doing what he did?
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Old 24.05.2012, 14:19
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

Did you park it in a marked cycle parking area eg "White Box, with a line-art picture of a bike, and/or the words Velo/Bicicletta in, such as:



If Yes, then the sign owner has no right to complain,

If No, then you were not parked in a bike parking area (Yes I know you don't need to, but many (if not all) swiss town have plenty of cycle parking spots on roads etc) then I could see why he may have been a bit pissed off with you parking in front of his sign (that he probably has to pay the local council a yearly fee for) and generally cluttering up the place
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Old 24.05.2012, 14:31
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

It was not a marked bicycle bay but neither was there anything to indicate no bikes. My bike was definitely not blocking his sign as his sign was hanging above the fence itself. The only thing he could say is that it was cluttering the space.

What I am interested in though is whether he had the legal right to lock my bike and waste several hours of my precious time? If not, then next time someone does something like that I will go to the police station and report them. Or I will lock the gates to their business - an eye for an eye style.
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Old 24.05.2012, 14:45
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

they bloke was prob pissed off that you dared to clutter his area and decided to take a bit of action - i would have cut his lock off and left it on the ground
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Old 24.05.2012, 14:46
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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It was not a marked bicycle bay but neither was there anything to indicate no bikes. My bike was definitely not blocking his sign as his sign was hanging above the fence itself. The only thing he could say is that it was cluttering the space.

What I am interested in though is whether he had the legal right to lock my bike and waste several hours of my precious time? If not, then next time someone does something like that I will go to the police station and report them. Or I will lock the gates to their business - an eye for an eye style.
General rule in Switzerland "I quote Maggie Thatcher".....
In Switzerland you can assume everything is not allowed unless there is a sign specifically authorising it.
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Old 24.05.2012, 14:49
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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It was not a marked bicycle bay but neither was there anything to indicate no bikes. My bike was definitely not blocking his sign as his sign was hanging above the fence itself. The only thing he could say is that it was cluttering the space.

What I am interested in though is whether he had the legal right to lock my bike and waste several hours of my precious time? If not, then next time someone does something like that I will go to the police station and report them. Or I will lock the gates to their business - an eye for an eye style.
Good question.

I'd like to know the answer too as sometimes I lock my bike to sturdy iron railings rather than those flimsy bike park things where you can only lock the front wheel.
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Old 24.05.2012, 15:13
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

Regardless of the rules ... I think locking bikes to railings and signs is fine unless there's a sign saying not to. However, this is for "public" signs only.

I most likely wouldn't lock my bike to a sign belonging to a business or shop as that is someone's personal property. I guess it depends on how "permanent" the sign looks.
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Old 24.05.2012, 15:17
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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General rule in Switzerland "I quote Maggie Thatcher".....
In Switzerland you can assume everything is not allowed unless there is a sign specifically authorising it.
Actually, the way I learned it:

In the German speaking part of Switzerland, if it's not specifically allowed, it's forbidden.

In Ticino, if it's not specifically forbidden, it's allowed.

Tom
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Old 24.05.2012, 15:27
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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Regardless of the rules ... I think locking bikes to railings and signs is fine unless there's a sign saying not to. However, this is for "public" signs only.

I most likely wouldn't lock my bike to a sign belonging to a business or shop as that is someone's personal property. I guess it depends on how "permanent" the sign looks.
It wasn't locked to the actual sign itself. It was locked to the fence beneath the sign. It seems clear from the responses that there is no particular law about this, so next time I will definitely take action. I would have cut his padlock off and left it on the floor but I didn't have any boltcutters with me and it was quite a hefty chain (the kind used to lock up boats at night).

I went to the police station to ask them to remove the chain but they would not help in this regard. In fact before they would speak to me they made me go on the street and find someone who would translate, despite the fact that at least one person in the police station must speak English. It is fair in Zurich for them to expect me to speak German since I live here, but it is not fair for the police in Ticino to expect me to speak Italian when I am only going there for the day. They should be helpful to tourists. Overall it was a very bad day in Lugano with the guy locking my bike and the police not helping me to remove it, and I think the tourist board should talk to the boat rental owner and the police about being more friendly to tourists. The boat rental owner should put up a "no bicycles" sign if he is that anal about it.
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Old 24.05.2012, 15:38
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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Actually, the way I learned it:

In the German speaking part of Switzerland, if it's not specifically allowed, it's forbidden.

In Ticino, if it's not specifically forbidden, it's allowed.

Tom
Isn't it in the German part more everything is forbidden unless specifically allowed in which case it's compulsory?
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Old 24.05.2012, 15:40
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

Sneak down in the middle of the night and padlock some of his boats.
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Old 24.05.2012, 15:54
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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I went to the police station to ask them to remove the chain but they would not help in this regard. In fact before they would speak to me they made me go on the street and find someone who would translate, despite the fact that at least one person in the police station must speak English. It is fair in Zurich for them to expect me to speak German since I live here, but it is not fair for the police in Ticino to expect me to speak Italian when I am only going there for the day. They should be helpful to tourists.
You should have tried a Swiss language, German or French should be no problem for most cops around here, but English you can pretty much forget.

Tom
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Old 24.05.2012, 18:41
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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Sneak down in the middle of the night and padlock some of his boats.
Ask the forum for some disused velos, and padlock the lot onto the precious sign....that'll teach him.
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:04
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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Isn't it in the German part more everything is forbidden unless specifically allowed in which case it's compulsory?
but my German husband insists, that in Germany in regards to parking cars: wenn es nicht verboten ist, es ist erlaubt. (When not forbidden, it's allowed) Not sure if it works in other regards

ps - I like Hat's idea...
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:06
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

you locked the bike to a fence that was under his sign...

Was it also his fence?

If it is a private fence then you shouldn't really be locking things to it, if it wasn't a private fence then he shouldn't be getting upset at you locking things to it...
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:11
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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You should have tried a Swiss language, German or French should be no problem for most cops around here, but English you can pretty much forget.

Tom
Universal Cop Translator.

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Old 24.05.2012, 19:23
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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Universal Cop Translator.

Totally off topic....i love your ..erm...DONUTS!!@#!@#!@#!@
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:29
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

It is precisely because of this pathetic behaviour, not only from the idiot with the lock but the police too, that I am so glad that I do not live in CH full-time any more.
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:30
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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It is precisely because of this pathetic behaviour, not only from the idiot with the lock but the police too, that I am so glad that I do not live in CH full-time any more.
I think many locals here say "it is culture"....if you don't like em, you just gotta pack up your old kit bag and go go go...
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Old 24.05.2012, 19:34
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Re: Is parking your bicycle underneath a sign illegal?

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I think many locals here say "it is culture"....if you don't like em, you just gotta pack up your old kit bag and go go go...
Yes, and precisely that 'culture' is not everyones' cup of tea. Hence why I went went went ...
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