Those of us who appreciate all things vintage and character-filled were properly horrified when a story aired this weekend about a bicycle commuter whose bike was confiscated by Union Station officials because they assumed, due to its rusty condition, that it was abandoned. Security cut her lock to impound the bike; as of Friday, she still had not received an apology or a new lock to replace the one they ruined.
I've seen notices posted on seemingly-abandoned bicycles in Arlington warning the owner that the bike will be removed in X number of days if not moved. This makes sense. You don't want bike racks taken up by abandoned cycles, as it leaves less room for folks who need that parking. But giving the owner notice alleviates the problem of accidentally taking a bike that is being parked legitimately. For instance, if a commuter parks the bike in the same spot every day for ten hours a day, that could easily be misinterpreted by an official as being abandoned if the bike is always there when the official goes by. Posting a notice on the bike allows the owner to remove the notice and park it in a different spot next time, showing that it is indeed being used. But wholesale impounding? How rude.
Also amusing-but-sad: during the taping of the segment, NBC4 was told by someone from security they could not videotape outside the station. Seems like Union Station Redevelopment Corporation has not yet learned its lesson about photographers' rights.