Estates investigate bike damage claims
December 13, 2009
The College View
By Cian Ginty
DCU Estates Office has launched an internal investigation into allegations that one of its staff members was found tampering with students’ bicycles, the College View can reveal.
The incident was reported last month to the Estates Office, as well as to the Students’ Union, when this newspaper witnessed a staff member letting the air out of both tyres of a student’s bicycle.
The bicycle was locked to a pole outside the Henry Grattan Building but was not blocking the entrance.
When approached by the College View, the employee in question said his name was “not relevant” and that he was carrying out the action because “there are blind people on campus”.
In an email to the College View, director of the Estates Office, Mike Kelly stated: “Whilst we discourage locking of bicycles to lamp posts, handrails and the like because they can cause hazards to people with disabilities, letting air out of people’s tyres is not something that we do or encourage”.
“I have investigated the matter and it will be dealt with internally in the Estates Office. I apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused.”
The SU said it would bring the matter up with university authorities.
“I think it is a bit ridiculous that a staff member interferes with anything that students own. I have come across others who have had the same problem and it just doesn’t make sense,” according to SU president Alan Keegan.
Keegan added: “The SU will be treating this as an important issue, because if a student did this to a staff member’s bicycle they would be thrown straight in front of the disciplinary committee and be reported to the Gardai.
“Double standards shouldn’t exist in this university and we will work to make sure this isn’t the case.”
Meanwhile, the Dublin Cycling Campaign said letting air out of tires as a form of punishment is “highly inappropriate behaviour” and that putting a notice on the bike or a similar action would be much more appropriate.
“All universities should have very clear bike-parking policies and well designed and sited facilities for same. Areas not for bike parking should be marked out for good reason, not just the perceived tidiness of the landscaping, and clearly signposted as such.
“On the other hand, the visually impaired certainly have a strong right to have their pathways clear,” according to Will Andrews of the Dublin Cycling Campaign.
“To my mind, deflating tyres causing complete loss of use of the bike is serious damage,” he added