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?