Vote on ‘chop shop’ legislation delayed

Bicycle “chop shop” legislation that drew strong opposition from both homeless and bicycle advocates will be reworked to reduce the role of police, its sponsor said Tuesday.

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy introduced the legislation to address complaints about homeless people dismantling or repairing bikes on city sidewalks and amassing large piles of bikes and parts.

The board was scheduled to vote today on the legislation, but after listening to feedback and meeting with police, Sheehy moved to postpone the vote a week so that he could return with a “more consensus driven” version.

The amended legislation will move as many functions as possible from police to the Department of Public Works.

Sheehy said:

“We don’t want police officers to hold administrative hearings when they could be walking the beat. … The capacity of public works to handle these challenges is far great than that of police.”

As originally proposed, the legislation would have allowed police to seize bicycles from people operating open air “chop shops” and issue an administrative citation. Individuals could reclaim their property if they filed an appeal within 30 days and proved the bikes belonged to them.

The proposal drew objections from homeless advocates, who said it unfairly targeted the homeless for owning property and repairing bikes and allowed an unconstitutional seizure of property from the poorest members of the community.

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition also opposed the legislation, saying it would not help reduce bicycle theft.

The legislation was approved 2-1 by the Board of Supervisors Land Use Committee on July 10, with Supervisor Aaron Peskin opposed.