bike parking at work
For Building Owners, Tenants and Employees
[see our page on Bicycle Parking requirements in the SF Planning Code for an overview of the rules for providing bike parking in new and renovated buildings]
The guidelines below will help you decide whether Secure Bike Parking or Short-Term Bike Parking will be more appropriate and better utilized at your building. Also check out the list of bike rack and locker suppliers.
Secure Bicycle Parking
Where to set up Indoor Secure Bicycle Parking?
Secure bicycle parking is best for buildings where bikes are kept for extended periods of time, such as apartment buildings, homes, and places of employment, as well as high-theft areas and public and private parking garages. The ideal bike parking facility is a separate, locked room within the building that includes racks for u-locking bikes and lockers. If bike racks must be located outdoors, they should be placed with the safety of the cyclist (who may be retrieving his or her bicycle alone, after dark) and the security of the bicycle (bike racks clearly visible from the street or other buildings, with enough foot traffic to discourage would-be thieves) in mind.
What are good indoor bike parking options?
While there are many types of secure bicycle parking, the most common forms are:
- Designated indoor bike room with locking system
- Bicycle lockers
- Designated bike space inside an office
- Bike cage in a garage
- Garage racks located directly adjacent to an attendant booth (so they can be monitored)
Important guidelines and information for indoor bike parking:
- Be sure to follow rack and locker installation guidelines properly to ensure the highest security. See the David Barker + Partners, Architects quality fact sheet addressing this issue.
- Locate the bike parking in well-lit and well-traveled locations.
- Inform employees and tenants of the existence of these facilities. The bike parking is not helpful if nobody knows about it!
- Advertise the bicycle parking with prominent signage.
- Download our brochure on Secure Bicycle Parking for profiles of four businesses that are doing it right!
Short Term Bicycle Parking
Where to set up Outdoor Short-term Bicycle Parking?
Short-term bicycle parking should not be confused with the more secure options listed above. Employees who work in areas like downtown San Francisco cannot generally leave their bicycles locked to outdoor racks safely all day, everyday. Bikes may eventually become prey to bicycle thieves if they are habitually locked in the same location. However, outdoor racks are great for shorter stays, especially when the bicycle is locked right.
What are good outdoor bike parking options?
The most common type of short-term bicycle parking is an outdoor bicycle rack. Bike parking best practices note that the best outdoor racks provide TWO locking points for a bicycle - so that both the front and rear wheels can be locked if the rider chooses. Generally "U" racks or "circular" racks are considered the best models.
Important guidelines and information for outdoor bike parking:
- Again, proper installation of racks is essential!
- Location is key; the racks will be best utilized in well-lit and well-traveled locations.
- See the set of guidelines from the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Planners for information on choosing the right type of rack for your building.
If you would like to get bike parking in your office, the best way to provoke change is to speak up! Stand up for your rights as a cyclist-don't let obstacles leave you discouraged!
Spread the Word
If you are having issues bringing your bike into your building or finding a safe place to store it, say something!
After one employee had a disagreeable interaction with the China Basin Building Management while trying to bring her bike through the lobby and up to her office, she brought her concerns directly to her boss. From the discussions that followed as a result of the complaint, the China Basin building now has some of the finest facilities for cyclists, including a locked bike room, equipped with 24-hour video cameras as well as several racks to lock to and lockers. Keys can be issued to any tenant for a $25 fully refundable fee. There are also shower facilities and laundry/dry-cleaning services available!
Get together with other cyclists and bike supporters in your building or offices for sponsorship and action!
One group of bicycling coworkers wrote a petition in support of maintaining bike access in their building, and then took turns getting signatures in the lobby of their building and by talking to tenants on different floors (they ended up gathering more than 200 signatures). They sent the petition along with a polite and professional cover letter to the management company of their building.
Another group of cycling commuters created a bike parking mailing list, getting several people to write letters to company executives and the Facilities Department of their building, and gaining backing from various company executives. Eventually a small bike room was opened on the first floor. While it is not quite up to par with the wants of the cyclists, it was not a complete disappointment, and maybe more than anything they would have gotten if they didn't say anything at all.
Sometimes something is better than nothing. Let a small development encourage persuasion for bigger change!
Even after creating a petition and meeting several times with building management, one group of concerned tenants could not convince the building management to budge on their "no bikes in the lobby" policy. Instead of giving up, or wasting energy fighting for something that clearly had no avail, the tenants researched other options and were able to negotiate with the building management to allow bikes to be brought in through a sidewalk elevator. They also convinced the management to set aside two locked storage rooms in the basement for bicycle parking. Not quite what they asked for- but definitely a step in the right direction.