The following article, written by Bicycle Friendly America program director Amelia Neptune for the League's Winter 2022 magazine, celebrates our favorite bike parking examples from across the country. Enjoy and take notes if you're looking for ways to improve bike parking in your community!
When most people think of bike infrastructure, they think of bike lanes or trails—the infrastructure we ride on. But bike parking is also an essential component of bike infrastructure that is too often overlooked, despite how cost-effective and easy it can be to provide.
We know from polling data and personal experience that high-quality bike parking helps more people ride more often, and that the lack of secure bike parking and concerns about bike theft are a barrier for many potential bicyclists. Whether it’s biking to work or running an errand, knowing that your bike will be safe and secure when you’re ready to head home is critical.
What bicyclist isn’t grateful to find businesses and daily destinations that make it easy and obvious to lock their bike safely and securely? Through our BicycleFriendly America award applications, we see so many examples from communities, businesses, and campuses that have made this essential piece of bike infrastructure a priority. Here is our round-up of some favorite bike parking examples from across the country:
SHORT-TERM BIKE PARKING
Short-term bike parking should always be easy to find and visible to “eyes on the street.” If it isn’t visible from your main entrance, there should be obvious and visible wayfinding signage to help bicyclists find it, and security cameras can be used to help keep a watchful eye if needed. Bike racks should be intuitive to use—or provide guidance for first-time users if needed.
Covered, double-decker outdoor bike parking at Boise State University (Gold-level BFU-Boise, ID) (pictured on the left) provides even better short-term bike parking that is protected from the elements and safe, secure, and convenient for a large number of bikes in a relatively small footprint and covered vertical racks at Boise State University have visual instructions on how to securely lock a bike to them.
LONG-TERM BIKE PARKING
For long-term bike parking (anything more than 2 hours), bicyclists tend to prioritize security over immediate convenience. While it doesn’t need to be visible from your front door, it should still be easily accessible for all ages and abilities, and well-marked for first-time visitors.
This indoor bike room (pictured on the right) features high-density double-decker parking to accommodate the many bike commuters who work at NPR (Gold-level BFB -Washington, DC). NPR’s indoor bike room is secured by key card access and is easily accessible with automatic opening doors at street level. If your bike room isn’t at street level, make sure there are ramps and/or elevators.
BIKE PARKING FOR BUSINESSES
Businesses that have both full-time employees as well as higher-turnover customers or visitors should provide both long-term and short-term bike parking. Smaller offices can offer indoor bike racks in common areas of the business for employees and visitors.
KEEN Corporate Headquarters (Gold-level BFB - Portland, OR) provides both long-term and short-term bike parking with standard staple racks in front for customers and visitors, and a secure indoor bike room (pictured on the right) for employees. And yes, those are spare rubber soles from KEEN footwear used as extra wheel padding for the vertical racks.
Indoor bike rooms are also a wonderful opportunity to provide other end-of-trip facilities: storage lockers, repair tools and supplies, and educational/encouragement resources such as bike maps, Smart Cycling Quick Guides, and flyers or event calendars.
Target Corporation (Platinum-level BFB - Minneapolis, MN) headquarters provides multiple indoor bike rooms for employees, equipped with professional-grade tools, a vending machine for spare parts and bike accessories, and air compressor. There are also subsidized mechanical services offered through Freewheel Bike Shop (Gold-level BFB) in the employee bike room for bikes to be serviced during the workday.
Individual Target stores across the country, like this one in Arlington, VA, (pictured on the left) are also prioritizing bikes for customers, by providing clearly marked cargo bike parking in their parking garage.
OUTDOOR BICYCLE LOCKERS AND SIMPLE BICYCLE GARAGES
At colleges and universities, as well as larger corporate campuses, we frequently see outdoor bicycle lockers and simple bicycle garages distributed across the campus, offering protection from the elements and from bike theft, while still offering convenience and accessibility to a more fluid biking population. Note that in all four examples below, additional short-term racks are provided nearby to provide overflow capacity and to accommodate short-term visitors who may not have access to the bike cages or lockers.
Simple bike garages like ones found across the campus of Portland State University (Platinum-level BFU- Portland, OR) (pictured on the right) show that double-decker parking can accommodate a higher volume, while simple U-racks on the other side can accommodate a wider variety of cycle types and sizes.
In urban areas, we’re starting to see similar bike parking models become publicly available such as the innovative modular Ooneepods in New York City, which provide safe, secure, and convenient public bike parking that can be located on almost any city street.
PEACE OF MIND
One of our favorite bike parking details from a recent BFB application is brokerage Brewery Co (Bronze-level BFB West Lafayette, IN). Their beer tap themed racks (pictured on the left) can be monitored by customers inside through a live stream on the brewery’s website: brokeragebrewing.com/bikes.
When bike parking isn’t visible from your front entrance, it is important to make sure bicyclists know exactly where to find it. Wayfinding signage should be clear and specific, like this example from the City and County of Denver (Silver BFB and Silver BFC - Denver, CO) (pictured on the right) which uses wayfinding signage to point to their overflow bike parking. If you’re a business or destination providing bike parking to customers, visitors, or the general public, there should always be a map, photo, and description of your bike parking location(s) readily available on your website, even if that bike parking is right out front, so that anyone deciding whether or how to get to your destination knows exactly what to expect if they arrive on a bike.
Another incredible bike parking solution we’ve seen is valet bike parking services at campuses and urban areas with high bike commuter rates. At Oregon Health &Science University (Platinum-level BFB and Gold-level BFU - Portland, OR), free bike valet services are offered by partner organization Go By Bike, Monday-Friday from 6 am-7:30 pm. At Santa Monica Bike Center (Platinum-level BFB - Santa Monica, CA) (pictured on the left) bike commuters can rent bike parking spaces and storage lockers during the workday and there is even free 2-hour valet bike parking available to residents and visitors.
PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
Want to learn the basics of long or short-term bike parking so your community, business, or university can be more accommodating to all bicyclists? We hosted two great webinars on exactly these topics in partnership with bike parking experts Dero. Find the webinar recordings at the links below:
Short-term bike parking webinar
Long-term bike parking webinar
For more illustrated examples, check out the full article in the magazine below and flip through the pages to explore more of American Bicyclist. League members receive American Bicyclist in their mailboxes. Join or renew your membership today to get the next issue!