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Fix Biking 4: Help People NOT Get Their Bike Stolen
Biking for transportation, unlike for recreation, requires safe parking
This is the fourth in a series of common sense solutions for building a better city for biking.
One big difference between using a bike for recreation versus using a bike for transportation is parking. Transportation involves leaving your bike at the destination, with the risk of theft.
The continued increase in people using bikes for their transportation needs as well as the uptake in e-bikes with removable batteries, heightens the urgency for actions by cities to mitigate the risk of bike theft.
We’re seeing three emerging solutions for secure bike parking that deserve to be scaled up.
1. Secure Bike Boxes
A determined thief is going to find a way to cut the lock on any bike. But what if the parked bike is hidden, so that a thief cannot see whether their efforts will be worth the risk?
This is often the case with secure bike boxes. Bikes are locked into a closet, which strangers can barely see into.
Various shapes and sizes of these boxes are springing up in cities around the world. Conveniently, these can be sized to fit into a single on-street car parking spot.
These bike boxes should come in 2 flavours:
Short-term day use, like the photo above, at destinations.
Long-term home use, like the photo below, on city streets in dense neighbourhoods, geared to apartment dwellers who may not want or be able to bring bicycles into their unit. People with bikes should have the same access to on-street monthly residential parking as do people with cars, especially when you can fit half a dozen bikes into a single car spot.
2. Valet Parking
Banff and Victoria are two Canadian cities that have been offering free valet bike parking throughout the day at central locations, encouraging residents and visitors to leave the car behind and use active transportation. There is also a lot of event-specific valet bike parking, from Edmonton Elks games to Ottawa’s Bluesfest.
3. Subscription Bike Rooms
Some cities are offering subscriptions to secure bike rooms, often located around transit stations. Maybe someday, these facilities will have the wow factor of the automated underground bike garages in Japan.
Cities are beginning to recognize the need for secure bike parking, and to provide low-cost solutions. This includes day solutions for people riding to transit or to different destinations around town.
It should also include 24/7 solutions for people not allowed to keep a bike in their apartment or condo building.
With the rise of e-bikes, secure parking will increasingly want to incorporate battery recharging.
Have you seen good examples of secure bike parking? What else should cities be doing?