Successful bike parking

UPDATE, 04-23-10: I start to further address distance in the discovery of “Bike Parking Phenomenon A.” Also on my Master’s Project website.

Not every concept, skill or tool can be further and further simplified. Does anything really take just 3 steps?

1. Set it, 2. Forget it, 3. No third step! (This article is about bike parking, not Ron Popeil’s Showtime Rotisserie!)

I believe I can simplify bike parking. Here are my two rules to have successful and well-used bike parking:

1. Put bike parking as close to the front door as physically possible. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen bicycle riders use a substandard sign pole or tree instead of a high-quality bike rack because the bike rack was an additional 20 feet from the front door. UPDATE: As Dave Reid points out in the comments below, close parking increases security. Additionally, I’ve now written about the phenomenon where people lock to inadequate fixtures when high-quality bike parking is nearby, what I call “Bike Parking Phenomenon A” or the “50 feet rule.” Every foot makes a difference!

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The bike parking in this photo sits only 20 feet away from the front door to a popular Chicago, Illinois, restaurant.

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The bike parking in this photo is too far away from the store entrance for bicyclists to consider using it.

2. Choose the right bike rack. How do you know? Give bicycle riders a bike rack that’s easy to use and secure (i.e. don’t let the bike rack be the weak point in the bicycle’s security).

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Six u-racks (also known as inverted-u, or staple racks) line the sidewalk in front of Kuma’s Corner in Chicago, Illinois.

If these two tips aren’t good enough, read through the online brochure, Bicycles at Rest, from the Capital Bike & Walk Society, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

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About Steven Vance

Enthusiast for urbanism, bicycling as transportation, and open data. Building a bicycle culture in Chicago.
  • http://urbanmilwaukee.com/ Dave Reid

    The proximity to the front door is important not just for ease of use, but also for security as that put bike parking in a more visible location. Personally, I like what they are doing in Portland with on-street parking. Picture:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davereid/4093954057/in/set-72157622637055127/

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I agree with you Dave. It’s security for me, and security for my bike to have it close to the door.

      I like the idea of on-street bike parking, and I spotted some on a recent trip to Tucson, Arizona. The Wicker Park-Bucktown Special Service Area is planning to install on-street bike parking in Chicago (the first site for the Second City).

      • http://urbanmilwaukee.com/ Dave Reid

        Cool.. I’m hoping up here to see these installed in Milwaukee, but we’ve got a long way to go before that happens.

        • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

          I wish I could give some tips to citizens about how to get the bike racks installed on your streets, but my best advice right now would be to contact the people at the Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA and the Portland Bureau of Transportation. There’re probably a bunch of other people in Portland who could give some direction, and I would find their names and offices on BikePortland.org.

  • http://urbanmilwaukee.com/ Dave Reid

    The proximity to the front door is important not just for ease of use, but also for security as that put bike parking in a more visible location. Personally, I like what they are doing in Portland with on-street parking. Picture:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/davereid/409395405

  • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

    I agree with you Dave. It's security for me, and security for my bike to have it close to the door.

    I like the idea of on-street bike parking, and I spotted some on a recent trip to Tucson, Arizona. The Wicker Park-Bucktown Special Service Area is planning to install on-street bike parking in Chicago (the first site for the Second City).

  • http://urbanmilwaukee.com/ Dave Reid

    Cool.. I'm hoping up here to see these installed in Milwaukee, but we've got a long way to go before that happens.

  • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

    I wish I could give some tips to citizens about how to get the bike racks installed on your streets, but my best advice right now would be to contact the people at the Wicker Park-Bucktown SSA and the Portland Bureau of Transportation. There're probably a bunch of other people in Portland who could give some direction, and I would find their names and offices on BikePortland.org.

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  • http://urbanmilwaukee.com/ Dave Reid

    Thanks for the suggestions… I think we have to get more of an organized bike community to see these kinds of improvements made.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      Don’t wait for the community. Find a business or find a place and then ask the nearest business to support it. It seems most of the corrals in Portland are in front of restaurants, although I haven’t seen a complete list of locations, even on PBOT’s corral webpage.

  • http://urbanmilwaukee.com/ Dave Reid

    Thanks for the suggestions… I think we have to get more of an organized bike community to see these kinds of improvements made.

  • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

    Don't wait for the community. Find a business or find a place and then ask the nearest business to support it. It seems most of the corrals in Portland are in front of restaurants, although I haven't seen a complete list of locations, even on PBOT's corral webpage.

  • http://www.web2carz.com Used Cars

    Yeah, when your bike has been stolen, you get very aware of the bike rack location.

  • http://www.web2carz.com Used Cars

    Yeah, when your bike has been stolen, you get very aware of the bike rack location.

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