All cities serious about cycling should develop a strategy for bicycle parking in the city centre. A mix of dispersed small parking provision and large secure storage facilities will offer cyclists easy access to key urban destinations. Observation and needs analysis should determine locations, quantity and quality. As a result, this will attract more cyclists, improve the quality of public space and increase the city centre's attractiveness.
THE WHAT, WHY & WHERE OF BIKE PARKING
Well-planned public bicycle parking facilities in the city centre offer cyclists safe and convenient parking opportunities near a mix of urban destinations. The location, the quantity and the quality of parking provision must match the needs of cyclists. In addition, this reduces bicycle theft, improves cycling accessibility of the area, contributes to modal shift and keeps public spaces uncluttered.
All city centres need well-planned bicycle parking infrastructure. This is one of three indispensable components of the trip chain: storing at home, riding on a cycling network and parking or storing at destinations.
This may not seem obvious. After all, a bicycle is small and light, convenient to hop on and hop off and easy to dispose of. Just lean it against a wall or attach it to a lamppost, a traffic sign or a railing right in front of your destination.
Such informal parking may be charming in small numbers, in little villages or quiet neighbourhoods, but in the centre of a busy city we are faced with two problems.
- Large numbers of bicycles standing or lying around creates chaotically cluttered space. They block pavements and hinder pedestrians, and they visually degrade the quality of public space. This is a very real challenge today in cities with high levels of cycling. But starter cities with high ambitions for a cycle network must also plan for the increase in cycle parking demand.
- Again in cities, bicycle theft and vandalism are serious issues. Concern about theft and vandalism discourages people from cycling. It also makes people use old and badly maintained bicycles, less comfortable, less safe and less attractive. Consider the following results from Dutch surveys. Of all the people who never cycle into the city centre, 31% give fear of theft as the reason. Of all those who do not own a bike, around 25 % gave fear of theft as a reason. And when their bike is stolen, 25% of cyclist cycle less or simply abandon cycling.
However, it would be wrong to see bicycle parking only as a problem to be solved or a nuisance to be eliminated. Such a view may simply lead to regulating and banning bicycles from city centres. Such a negative approach will be counterproductive and hinder the growth of cycling. It is vital to consider bicycle parking facilities as an opportunity for city centres.
- Large numbers of informally parked bicycles should not be read as a problem but as a sign strong demand for more and better cycle parking provision.
- Well-organized bicycle parking boosts cycling. Cyclists are encouraged if they know that wherever they go they can count on finding adequate, sufficient, high-quality and safe bicycle parking. High-quality provision is also visual proof to all that cycling is taken seriously. Experience consistently shows that good-quality parking attracts latent demand
- Indirectly, bicycle parking contributes to boosting city centre attractiveness. In combination with a cycling network, it improves accessibility for cyclists. It should be part of a general parking policy, aiming for a modal shift towards public transport and cycling. This way, car parking space can be freed up, inside buildings as well as in public space. Ten bicycles only need as much space to park on as one car.
- Cyclists contribute significantly to the economic health of a shopping district. In most cities, most shoppers do come by car. Many retailers conclude that car parking provision is a priority and may resist giving space to cyclists. Establishing the exact financial contribution of cyclists is hard. But research has shown that it would be wrong to neglect cyclists' economic potential. First, surveys show that retailers often underestimate the share of cyclists and pedestrians. Secondly, customers by car spend more per visit, but cyclists are more regular customers, living nearby. As a result, in some cities surveys have shown that cyclists actually spend more per visit on average than car users.
THE BENEFITS OF PROVIDING BICYCLE PARKING
Provision of secure short-term parking will encourage clients, employees and visitors to use bicycles to reach your business or facility. Bicycles today are sophisticated and expensive machines, and more people are using bicycles to travel to work, shops and for recreation. Having safe and accessible parking is an important key to serving the bicycle-riding public.
Promoting cycling helps reduce the demand for car-dependent living and the need for expensive automobile facilities - about six bicycles can be parked in the space provided for a single car. Areas provided for bicycles are less costly; they don't have to bear the weight of automobiles.
Providing secure bicycle parking will reduce informal parking on fences and trees, which may clutter sidewalks, damage vegetation, trip or be a hazard to pedestrians.
|Bike Security Racks Inc.||Cambridge, MA|
|Bike Gard||Rexburg, ID|
|CreativePipe||Rancho Mirage, CA|
|Cycle-Safe||Grand Rapids, MI|
|Reliance Foundry||Surrey, BC|
In addition you can check out the comprehensive list on the Bicycles at Rest website.
Cities and Advocacy Groups:
|Vancouver, BC||Seattle, WA|
|Victoria, BC||Portland, OR|
|Toronto||New York City, NY|
|Calgary, AB||Seattle, WA|
|Edmonton, AB||Washington, DC|
|Bellingham WA||Pittsburgh, IL|