Bin biking?

Commuters aren't likely to ride a $7,000 bike to work just to park it outside in the rain in plain view of vandals and thieves. Enter the bike locker, Whitehorse's newest bid for community sustainability.

Commuters aren’t likely to ride a $7,000 bike to work just to park it outside in the rain in plain view of vandals and thieves.

Enter the bike locker, Whitehorse’s newest bid for community sustainability.

Using only a padlock, bikes can be safely stowed within the steel walls of the locker, safe from the threat of stolen seats, broken chains and stripped gears.

Bike racks are functional, but they have often fallen short of serving the city’s cycling faithful, said Doug Hnatiuk, Whitehorse’s co-ordinator of projects and community development.

Citizens who ride to work often spend a lot of money on their bike. Naturally, they want more security, said Hnatiuk.

They also won’t have to worry about schlepping around their saddle bags.

The lockers are meant to be a “showcase,” said Hnatiuk.

Once local businesses and agencies see the municipal lockers in action, the hope is that scores more will begin to crop up.

Especially now there’s a Whitehorse-based supplier.

The lockers were built by Duncan’s Limited, a local structural steel fabricator.

The 30 new multicoloured lockers cost $45,000, paid through federal gas tax funds.

Ten are already in place at the Canada Games Centre and the other 20 are expected to be placed downtown.

“They’re the most dangerous things I’ve ever seen,” said two trade show attendees outside the Canada Games Centre on Sunday.

Without any sort of escape hatch, the lockers can easily become impromptu prison cells, said one man.

In the dead of winter, or in blazing sunlight, the consequences of being jammed in a locker could be deadly, he said.

The doors can be opened from the inside if unlocked – but a padlock, a pen or even a twig could transform the locker into a brig.

“It was never envisioned that a human being would be placed into those lockers, intentionally or otherwise—I mean, it’s a bike locker,” said Hnatiuk.

If need be, the lockers could probably be fitted with some sort of escape hatch, he said.

“They make a lot of noise if you pound on them, and they’re going to be in very public areas,” said Whitehorse environmental co-ordinator Pippa McNeil, loudly banging on the top of the locker for effect.

“These lockers are for (community) use, and if they abuse them, we’ll have to remove them, which is a bit of a shame,” said Hnatiuk.

“We’re hoping people will use them responsibly, and not use them for illicit activities, such as locking people in, and we would caution people not to put in any combustibles or explosives,” he said.

Wayward citizens may be tempted to reserve a “private” locker simply by keeping it bolted at all times.

“If we see locks on there over the evenings, we’ll put a notice up saying, ‘This is not your permanent locker,’” said engineering and environment manager Wayne Tuck.

“We would cut the lock off and confiscate the goods within the locker,” said Hnatiuk.

Despite cramped conditions, the lockers could also be well-suited to providing temporary sleeping accommodations.

“It’s like anything, we’ve had people camping in the gazebo in Rotary Peace Park,” said Hnatiuk.

Bylaw officials will be checking the lockers as part of their regular nightly rounds, he said.

Bike lockers are used in cities throughout Canada without incident, said McNeil.

But cities such as Toronto and Vancouver don’t allow indiscriminate bike locker access, offering them only by monthly rental.

Contact Tristin Hopper at

tristinh@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Fines for contravening the fire ban start at $1,150 and could go as high as $100,000. File photo
Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. (Black Press file)
Yukon campgrounds to open early

Yukon campgrounds will open on May 1 this year. The early opening… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The aesthetics and economics of highway strips

One of the many cultural experiences you enjoy while driving from Whitehorse… Continue reading

Submitted
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone.
Artwork by Grade 2 student Faith showing her thanks for everyone. (Submitted)
Yukon kids express gratitude for nature, pets and friends in art campaign

More than 50 children submitted artwork featuring things they are grateful for

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read