If you’ve been outside enjoying the great outdoors as part of physical distancing, you may have noticed more people riding bicycles. It’s not your imagination, since the pandemic has taken hold, bike sales are skyrocketing. According to Bicycle Retailer, U.S. cycling sales alone through all retail channels grew 75% in April to a total of about $1 billion in retail sales for the month. Typically, April sales fall between $550 and $575 million. Making sure riders have appropriate supporting infrastructure is more important than ever.
It’s no surprise that the cities with the highest share of people bicycling have made significant and thoughtful investments in bicycle infrastructure and amenities. Cities like Copenhagen (Denmark), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Strasbourg (France), Seville (Spain), and Berlin (Germany), have some of the highest bicycle mode shares in the world, but have not always been that way. Many of these cities experienced a decline in people bicycling during their own “car invasion” in the 50’s and 60’s. Their city administrations have dedicated transportation funding to create a minimum grid of safe, connected, and physically separated cycle routes designed for people of all ages and abilities.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Bicycle Parking and Storage
Ample bicycle parking encourages people to bicycle more often, increases business visibility by installing parking spaces in front of stores, and provides well-designed shared spaces to both bicyclists and pedestrians alike, strengthening communities. Understanding bike parking design and function can help communities prioritize needs, functionality, and optimal design considerations. Standard bicycle racks like hoop, wave and grid style are simple in design, cost effective, and encourage cyclists to utilize bicycle parking.
Bicycle shelters may provide bike storage in areas that would not normally accommodate bicycle parking. Shelters come in a variety of styles and sizes, including modular systems that provide covered and secure bicycle storage while being extremely space-efficient and cost-effective.
Bike rooms provide a great opportunity for high security, long-term parking when there are no outdoor shelters or lockers. Dedicated indoor bicycle storage rooms are praised by bicyclists for residential and commercial use.
Several communities have begun implementing on-street solutions for bicycle parking. This solution is ideal in high-density areas with narrow sidewalks and moderate pedestrian traffic.
Often overlooked, event parking is a critical building block for bicycle-friendly communities. Unfortunately, many organizers often forget bicycle parking altogether, leaving bicyclists stranded and area parking lots overcrowded.
There is consensus on the need to provide good parking for bicyclists – especially secure, sheltered parking to help prevent theft and to protect bicycles from inclement weather. It is additionally important to think about offering other amenities that encourage people to bike more often. Offering tools like public repair stands where people need them – near streets, shops, trails, and bicycle storage areas – will encourage people to bike more frequently. Other end-of-trip facilities may also include: bike wash station, showers, and locker rooms to store changes of clothes.
The term “parklet” is used to describe the transformation of a vehicle parking space into a mini-park for passive recreation. These spaces can be retrofitted with benches, planters, tables and chairs, umbrellas, bicycle racks, and even art installations. In areas of high foot traffic, the use of a few underused parking spaces as parklets can significantly improve the walkability and livability of the area without impacting the availability of parking.