If you want people to bike to work, shool or shopping, you need to give them a place to park their bike when they get to their destination. Despite a growing number of cyclists, many cities are still behind in terms of bicycle parking facilities. But what makes good bicycle parking?
By Erik Bølling-Ladegaard, The Danish Cyclists’ Federation and Pablo Celis, Celis Counsult
Cycling as a means of transport is on the increase in many towns and cities around the world, and further growth in the number of cyclists is expected in the coming years. At the same time, a lot is being done at many levels to get more people on their bicycles. However, not much thought is going into the question of where all these bicycles should be parked when not in use.Part of the problem is that bicycle parking has not been given the necessary attention in urban planning and area use. Moreover, no clear guidelines exist as to what constitutes good bicycle parking facilities. This affects the decision-making processes, and the quality of the solutions realised is not impressive.
Anarchic cyclists or useless bicycle parking?
It is a general assumption that cyclists behave like anarchists when parking their bicycles. Many therefore see the creation of orderly conditions in this area as being a question of upbringing.
However, the primary reason why cyclists behave anarchically is that not enough parking spaces are available and also that the location of many of the available parking spaces is not practical. At the same time, many of the stands and racks offered are not good enough.
When the bicycle parking problem becomes acute in the public space, the solutions devised are often haphazard. They rarely solve the problem, but end up as an eyesore in the townscape.
Consequently, the anarchic parking habits continue despite all the good intentions and despite many futile attempts to procure a sufficient number of parking spaces, or just more parking spaces.
Problem not insoluble
The growing chaos and anarchy surrounding bicycle parking make the problem appear insoluble – which, of course, it is not.
First and foremost, bicycle parking must be included in all relevant planning and decision-making processes at the relevant times.
In connection with all building- and construction works, conversions, refurbishments, renovations, maintenance and improvement projects and new building works, bicycle parking should be included in the process from the outset. Like other area planning issues.
Local authorities should make demands
As not all developers are aware of their responsibilities in relation to the establishment of bicycle parking facilities, the local authorities must introduce specific requirements.
It is important that the solutions are sound and that they meet a small number of crucial requirements.
- The solutions must ensure that the necessary parking area and number of parking spaces are available.
- The solutions must ensure that bicycle parking facilities are located and laid out in a way that encourages use.
- The solutions must signal order, system and balance.
In other words, the solutions must signal that the town or city and the local authorities, the business and the developer appreciate the fact that many people elect to use their bicycle as a means of transport.
For more information read the extensive Bicycle Parking Manual [.pdf – 10MB].
Category: Bicycle Parking