Roundup of Bike Parking Resources
Bike parking is the infrastructure that we sometimes take for granted, but it is a critical deciding factor in helping more people choose to bike for functional, every-day trips. It’s something every business, university or college, and community should be striving to implement, improve, and maintain.
If you’re looking to add new bike parking, or upgrade some older racks – look no further!
Over the years, we’ve shared many bike parking resources and best practices to make it easier for local advocates and decision makers to select and implement safe, secure, convenient, and accessible bike parking for everyone who wants to arrive at their destination by bike. Here is our round-up of some of the League’s favorite bike parking resources.
What does good bike parking even look like?
If you want to get inspired about how good your bike parking can be, check out our Ode to Great Bike Parking, originally published in the League’s Winter 2022 magazine, American Bicyclist.
What makes good bike parking great bike parking?
First, the basics: The APBP Bike Parking Guidelines provide the gold standard for what good bike parking entails. All of the Bicycle Friendly America applications reference APBP guidelines, and it is the standard we expect every city, business, and campus to use when selecting and installing bike parking. The free version of the guide includes all the most important criteria for secure bike parking, while a longer paid version goes into more detail about bike parking capacity, etc.
We have partnered with Platinum-level Bicycle Friendly Business Dero on several explanatory webinars over the last few years, including one on short-term bike parking (anything under two hours), one on long-term bike parking (two hours or more), and a highlight of Allina Health’s new Bike Commuter Center in Minneapolis, MN.
If you’re in a campus setting (corporate or academic), you might also want to check out the resources from another Bicycle Friendly Business, Ground Control Systems, that is specifically about campus bike parking solutions.
Finally, it is essential to make sure that the good bike parking that is offered is as convenient and accessible to everyone as possible. That means ensuring racks can accommodate all sizes and styles of bikes, including adaptive bikes, cargo bikes, and even e-bikes that might need to charge up. Spacing between racks, rack type, and ramps/doors leading to bike parking make a huge difference in how accessible it is.
It also means advertising your bike parking: If you’re a customer-focused business, make sure the exact location of your guest bike parking is included on the ‘Location’ or ‘Contact Us’ page of your website so newcomers know what to expect. (This really might make the difference between someone choosing to bike to your destination or not!)
How do you make sure your community has high standards for plentiful, secure, and convenient bike parking?
First, make sure there are policies and plans in place to support high-quality bike parking.
If you’re working with your municipality or metropolitan planning organization (MPO) to improve bike parking in your community, encourage them to adopt an ordinance requiring bike parking at all new and existing developments, as well as design guidelines to ensure the proper quantity and quality is provided. Check out this model bicycle parking ordinance from Change Lab Solutions, as well as some of the local examples of policies, design guides, and related programs from real Bicycle Friendly Communities by exploring the Bike Parking Best Practices map below.
Find more examples of communities that make it easy for anyone – including local businesses and the general public (see below) – to request new bike parking: Charlottesville, Virginia, Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Culver City, California.
A note on public vs. private space
Not all sidewalks, parking lots, or businesses are owned or operated by the city or municipality. When considering or requesting a bike rack in a certain location, it is usually up to the property owner to install and maintain the rack, though they may be able to request assistance from the city through programs like the examples above. You can usually find out who owns the area in question by asking the business owner or looking it up on a city’s website. Most private businesses like a grocery store are not owned by the city and so you will have to work with the store’s owner to get a bike rack(s) installed.
If requesting a bike rack to be installed on city owned property, outside of a business, it is common courtesy to notify the nearby businesses that a rack is getting installed and you can even have a conversation about the best location for it.
How do cities pay for bike parking?
- Most cities use general funds to pay for public bike parking, or rely on public-private partnerships or cost sharing with local businesses and institutions.
- Find a list of all the U.S. DOT grants that can fund bicycle parking (and many other bike infrastructure and programming categories!)
Looking to justify the expense of new bike parking, whether for a local business or your city or town’s general budget? Check out these studies that show the value of bike parking:
- Reconnecting to the New Majority – Secure bike parking is highly valued — most demographic groups identified it as the second most important intervention for better biking.
- Bicycling Benefits Business – Bike-accessible businesses, like Bicycle Friendly Businesses, experience economic benefits by catering to these customers.
- The Power of Bicycle Parking – a report from Transportation Alternatives out of New York City to support increasing the quantity, quality, and visibility of bike parking. After all, access to secure bicycle parking is the number two reason determining whether someone chooses to ride a bike or not.
- With bike theft on the rise in many cities over the past several years, one of the best arguments for investing in better bike parking is to help deter bike theft. For an academic argument on the topic, see Bicycle parking security and built environments – a journal article in Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment that examines the association between the built environment and bike theft as an issue that discourages bicycling.