Tagbehavior

Bike parking phenomenon A

If this photo doesn’t demonstrate to you the idea behind Bike Parking Phenomenon A, then I don’t know what will.

“A bicyclist will choose an inferior, unsanctioned, or inappropriate object to which to lock their bicycle if said object is closer to their final destination than a superior, sanctioned, adequate, or appropriate object.”

Read more about Bike Parking Phenomenon A on my Master’s Project website. Or continue reading to learn more about the photograph above.

The owner of the red bicycle is taking a large risk by locking their bicycle to the sign pole. These are easily removed – unscrew the single bolt and the bicycle is yours. It’s called “sucker pole” for this reason. The sign pole is inferior to the immediately adjacent bike rack. The bike rack (a u-rack or staple rack) offers the bicyclist a much more secure place to park their bike. Distance is not a factor here.

Granted, I was not there when the owner of the red bicycle arrived at this location and proceed to lock their bike to the sign pole. The bike rack MAY have been full. However, I do not believe this to be the case because I have never seen more than one bike rack locked to this bike rack. This intersection sees a lot of bicycle through traffic and not very much destination traffic.

Distance is a factor at this Whole Foods on Westlake in South Lake Union, Seattle, Washington. Read more about the importance of distance in a previous blog post.

Notice in the photo above where bicycles are locked. What does this mean for people who aren’t using bicycles, like pedestrians and people using wheelchairs or walkers?

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!

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

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).

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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