Access to secure bike parking is critical to encouraging greater use of bicycles. Without safe and convenient places to park, bicyclists are much less likely to commute to work or school, run errands, and engage in other utilitarian trips by bike. Bicycle parking facilities run the gamut from simple hitching posts installed outside buildings or on downtown sidewalks to covered parking facilities, bike lockers, and full service bike stations.
As with other strategies for promoting bicycling, this is an area where much of the legwork has already been done by others, and helpful guidance is only a mouse-click away on the Internet. The International Bicycle Fund provides helpful information on its Web site, including guidance on locating bicycle parking facilities, choosing the most suitable parking device to install, and publicizing parking once it is available. Properly locating bicycle parking facilities can help reduce bicyclist-pedestrian conflicts and crashes and enhance utility of bike parking. The site also maintains a list of bicycle parking suppliers along with their contact information. See http://www.ibike.org/engineering/parking.htm. Bicycle Parking Guidelines from the American Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals is also available from http://www.bicyclinginfo.org/pdf/bikepark.pdf with guidance on racks and location and design of parking areas.
Another good source of information is the City of Portland’s Bicycle
Master Plan (http://www.portlandonline.com/shared/cfm/image.cfm?id=40414).
The plan describes Portland’s assessment of short- and long-term bicycle
parking needs and facilities and resulting objective and action items for addressing
In general, for meeting short-term parking needs, such as at shopping locations, a sturdy bike rack will suffice. The bike rack should be located near an entrance, in a location that is protected from pedestrian and vehicle traffic but still visible enough to passers-by to increase security. For longer-term parking, such as at transit stations or workplaces, bicycle lockers are generally recommended. In addition to providing safe parking that is protected from the elements, lockers allow bicyclists to leave extraneous gear (helmet, lights, panniers, tool bags, etc.) with their bikes, rather than having to carry it with them.
- Encourage greater use of bicycles by providing secure and convenient parking at destination sites (shopping, schools, libraries, parks, businesses, etc.).
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- It is important that the right parking equipment be installed for a given location and purpose. In general, the more long-term the parking, the more secure (and expensive) the required equipment. See Web sites in main text for guidance.
- To help determine where parking is needed, look for where bikes are already being parked illegally, and survey bike club members to learn what destinations are most lacking in parking.
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Costs depend on the type of facility provided. In general, bike racks will cost about $50 to $100 per bike, while bike lockers will cost from $500 to $1,500 per bike. Locker costs can sometimes be offset by charging rental fees, although these should not be so high as to discourage would-be commuters. Employers and businesses can also be encouraged to support bicycle parking facilities, since providing even the best locker facilities is much cheaper than providing motor vehicle parking.
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