The modest dimensions of bicycles (a standard bike is 6’ or approx. 1.8 meters long with handlebars 2’ or approx. .6 meters wide and approximately 4’ or approx. 1.2 meters tall) allow for more creative and efficient parking solutions than those that can be provided for motorized vehicles. As a rule of thumb, one automobile parking space can provide parking for up to five to ten bicycles.
Bicycle parking can represent an important part of a municipality's cycling infrastructure and help to encourage mixed-mode commuting via public transportation.
Bicycle parking provides an incentive for people to cycle over other less sustainable forms of transportation as it allows for one's bicycle to be safely stowed and secured. Bike parking also ensures that by providing dedicated space for bicycles that space is available for pedestrians and for mobility accessibility aids such as handrails and ramps which might otherwise be misused by cyclists looking for ways to secure their bikes. Bicycle parking is also useful in helping to realize complete streets.
Visible bicycle parking is also a powerful indicator of how welcome cycling is in given public space. Localities that do not provide bicycle parking send the message that biking isn't supported and may even be unwelcome there.
Considerations When Planning Bicycle Parking
- The demographic and the kinds of bicycles they will use: Non-standard bikes such as cargo bikes, e-bikes, and recombinant bicycles will all demand different consideration
- Visibility: Cyclists should be able to easily spot available bicycle parking; signage to draw attention to the parking may be considered
- Capacity and Frequency of Use
- Need for Protection from the Weather
- Surrounding Space: Is there enough room for a biker and their bicycle to maneuver to and from the parking? Given the space constraints, is it physically possible to use the bicycle parking selected to its specified capacity?
- Duration of Parking: Whether the need is for (Class II Parking) short-term or (Class I Parking) long-term parking or a mixture of the two or whether separate provisions will be made on site for both long and short-term parking. The considerations for long and short-term parking differ significantly. Long-term bicycle parking must provide features that will protect bicycles stored there, while short-term parking should be optimized for security (since generally, this type of parking is more exposed) and ease of access.
- Proximity to amenities such as restrooms, showers, change rooms, and electrical outlets or charging stations, where e-bikes are a consideration
- Parking that allows the frame as well as both wheels to be secured
- Any necessary permitting