HOW-TO: Bicycle Parking

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PDF IconSf Bicycle Parking Bulletin No 9

2013.08 SF  Bicycle Parking  Bulletin  No.  9


San Francisco has a new bicycle parking ordinance. This Zoning Administrator Bulletin No. 9, issued August 2013, summaruizes how to meet these requirements.


PDF IconDbp Bike Parking Standards V2

Dimensions for installing "staple" bike racks are critical. Here are our suggested standards.

This custom bike rack was designed for San Francisco's Mission Bay project. Though capacity is limited to one bike per rack and the round tube makes it vulnerable to pipe-cutter-equipped thieves, it looks great and supports bikes securely.

Bicycle parking is an important element in urban and building design. Well done, it encourages bike riding by giving people secure places to lock or store their bicycles.


Bike parking can be divided into two main classes, open parking (racks for visitors) and enclosed parking (for building residents and workers).

This design integrates the bike parking with the street tree module resulting in a ordered and attractive urban street scape design.

U-rack fabricator and supplier: http://www.bikeparking.com


This is the standard U-rack used in San Francisco's City Bike Parking Program. This is a stainless-steel rack—an upgrade from the normal galvanized version—which I prefer. With stainless, make sure to spec no clear overcoat, which would scratch and look terrible.

U Racks

I think the standard U, or STAPLE has a utilitarian charm. 

Racks can be ganged at 24" centers, allowing two bikes per U.  The most important design criteria for U-racks is leaving clear access space on both ends.  Frequently designers put a row of racks up against a wall or other obstruction, reducing their capacity by 50%.

Bike parking at the DbA office.

Business Bike Parking

Businesses are installing bicycle parking for their employees and customers that ride that is in the public areas instead of hidden in a garage or store room.


The interior of the Tassafaronga apartments' bike room featuring the Vertirack from www.bikeparking.com, an excellent rack design that holds the bike well and provides a good locking point. There is a bike room near the elevator on each residential level, a great way to provide convenient and secure bike parking.

Secure Bike Room Parking

This type storage is for residents and/or workers in a building.  Although it can be accomplished with U-racks, a secure bike room is a much better option.  Thieves steal bikes, and parts from bikes, even in locked garages.

A comprehensive review of indoor bike parking is available at www.transalt.org/features/bikeparking.html.

The Vertirack system is a good implementation of this concept. Manufactures web page at http://www.bikeparking.com/vertirack/.

Located in front of the Main Library in San Francisco, this on-street bicycle parking area replaced two car spaces with 38 bike spaces (you do the math). It also cleared the sidewalks for disabled people.

Bike Corrals

As bicycle use increases in urban areas, there needs to be bike parking located in the public realm. BIKE CORRALS are starting to be a common feature in bike friendly cities. Amsterdam has a multi-level bicycle parking garage located by the main train station.

"Wave" racks do not provide good support or organization for bicycles. They also don't allow 3 point locking (both wheels and frame) like U racks. This fail is at one of our affordable housing designs.

Bike Parking Don'ts

Many standard racks are poorly designed, such as the "wave" rack. It's better if the rack functions well as well as looks cool (not impossible, but requires some thoughtfulness)..