Sunday 1 December 2013

How to safely and conveniently park a bike at your destination

Summary: Bikes can be parked safely right at or outside your destination almost all of the time, which beats cars and public transport for convenience. All you need is a U lock that you carry with you and something secure enough to lock your bike to given the particular risk of theft.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Steven Vance

Related Posts:
Where to park if commuting to Melbourne CBD
What type of bike lock should I buy?
> How to prevent your bike being stolen

1. Use a U lock and always carry it; Make sure there's nothing to steal from the bike
- A U lock is mandatory for secure, efficient bike parking. All of the suggestions below require use of a U lock for security. Cables locks are entirely useless.
 See: > What type of bike lock should I buy?

- Also ensure your bike doesn't have anything desirable and detachable on it when you park. See: > How to prevent your bike being stolen

2. At work park in your garage or bike racks
- The best place to park is in your workplace's garage. Unless you're a VIP, you can't do that with your car.

- If there is no garage or insufficient space, use bike racks. If no bike racks find out from the Facilities area what bike parking options there are and demand one if none exist. In the meantime, just attach your bike to a secure object (sign, rail, pipe) and let Facilities know.

- At some workplaces you can bring your bike indoors.

3. If not attaching your bike to something use the U lock to lock the rear wheel to the frame
- For example, if parking your bike at work indoors or in a friend's front yard and not locking it to something, just use the U lock to lock the rear wheel to the frame. This means no-one can wheel or ride off with your bike, they'd have to carry it away.

4. Where street/nearby equipment exists, lock to something as secure as possible
- Typically any permanent, metal hoop is best. But street signs and other metal objects (rails, fences, parking meters, pipes) are usually suitable. See > How to prevent your bike being stolen.

- Much of the time I am out, there is no bike parking hoop, so my bike is parked alongside my girlfriend's with a U lock wrapped around both frames and a street sign:

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by MoBikeFed

5. Where no street equipment exists, lock to whatever else works best
- Sometimes there is no suitable street equipment nearby but there are often other reasonable, temporary options. E.g. When I ride to indoor cricket I lock my bike to the metal fence of the business park across the road. Locking your bike on the outside of private property for short periods is almost never an issue unless your bike is an obstruction.

- Temporary event railings are also fine for the period of the event.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Michael McCauslin

6. If there is nothing secure to lock to, lock to your friend's bike or ensure you lock the frame to the rear wheel
- Sometimes there is nothing secure to lock to. If with friends, just lock your rear wheels together with one or more U locks, through the frame if possible. If the rear wheel is locked to something that can't be cut then the bike has to be carried. Two bikes cannot be carried away by a thief.

Note: Locking just the frame to an insecure object (e.g. tree branch that could be snapped) is worse than just locking your rear wheel to your frame. In the former instance, once the tree branch is snapped your bike can be ridden away. But if the rear wheel is U-locked to the frame the bike can never be ridden away without breaking the U lock.

7. Many food/drink destinations have convenient bike parking outside
- If you ride to dinner/drinks in busy nightlife areas, you can often lock them up right outside the restaurant or bar in special bicycle parking hoops. It's almost never the case that a car can be parked as close and public transport never drops you right at your destination.

8. If no decent parking option, request one be installed by your local council
- As bicycle use increases the councils with the most cyclists set aside money for installing more bike parking (typically hoops). If you and other cyclists are using a specific location with no decent parking, contact the local council to request bike parking be installed. The better councils let you do this online. E.g. Yarra Council: Bicycle Parking Request Form

Further Info:
Where to park your bike? The question often missing from the cycling debate

City of Melboune - Where to park your bike

Parkiteer secure bike cages
- Requires $50 refundable deposit and registering for a swipe card.

SF Has Turned 30 Car Parking Spots Into 336 Bike Parking Spots