how to get someone else's lock off my bike?
March 16, 2011 10:19 PM Subscribe
Someone has (accidentally, I think) put his lock on my bicycle. The police are unwilling to cut the lock without paperwork proving that I own the bicycle, but I do not have that paperwork. The policeman I asked seemed to hint that I could get away with cutting the lock myself, but it's in a well-traveled area and I'm unwilling to risk some eager bystander reporting me for bicycle theft. This is in Chicago. Advice, please?
posted by d. z. wang to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (32 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
While my bike was locked to a rack, someone put a cable lock through his own front triangle, his front wheel, and my rack, locking my bicycle as well as his own.
I offered to get my room-mate to sign an affidavit, but it sounded like the policeman wanted some kind of title like people transfer with cars. I have no such thing.
The policeman seemed to hint that as long as nobody forced him to act by reporting a theft in progress, I would not get in trouble for cutting the lock myself. Nonetheless, I'm reluctant to take his verbal assurances with that kind of caveat. Having once cut a (thinner) cable lock with the same tools (hacksaw and dull tin snips), I know it'll take at least fifteen minutes, and I'll be standing in front of a busy cafe very obviously cutting someone's lock the whole time.
I'm going to wait a day or two longer in case the other bicyclist returns and frees my bike, but then I'll have to choose one of the following:
1. Cut the lock myself and try to convince passersby that I only want my own bicycle.
2. Unscrew my rear rack from the bike, so that at least the bike is free, lock the rear rack to the bike rack, and wait for the bicyclist to return.
3. Go back to the bike shop and see if they can give me this "paperwork" for a bike they sold over three years ago. (Unlikely. I sort of work at this shop and have never seen any paperwork other than a handwritten receipt for a "bike".)
Any other suggestions?