Bike racks are cheap ways to promote physical activity. Having a place for your visitors to safely lock up their bikes provides a way for visitor to get additional exercise going to and from your park. You can also consider adding longer-term storage racks or lockers for your employees.
Bike rack placement
Bike racks are easy to install, but building them does not guarantee that they will be used. Choosing the best location for bike racks is critical to their success. Think about your parks. Do users have to ride on or cross major roads to get to the park? Does the park already receive high bicycle traffic? Does the park have an adequate site to build bicycle racks (see guidelines in the more information section below)? How much money does your agency have to spend? Answering these questions can help guide you to selecting the right number and placement of your bike racks.
Generally, bike racks should be placed in a prominent location very close to the facility. They should allow room for the cyclist to maneuver their bike in and out of the rack, and if possible, should provide some protection from rain and sun.
Your largest park might not be the best place to put bike racks if there is not a bicycle-friendly way to get there. Starting with a busy neighborhood park, or a park adjacent to a school, might be a better choice. Additional parks might need safer bike access before bike racks will see any use. The next section of this toolkit will cover improving pedestrian and bicycle access to your parks.
Promoting your bike racks
People will not use your bike racks if they do not know about them! Post the location of your bike racks on your agency’s website and social media. Email your employees about the change. Create a press release to go in your local paper. Post a sign about it at your park. As the number of bike racks in your municipality or county grows, publish a map on your website. As people in your community start to see that there are safe places to store their bicycles, they will begin to consider using their bikes for short trips.
Once you are done with this project, share it with us. Also, bike racks only are a starting point for encouraging citizens to be active. Here are some other ideas that you can use to promote cycling in your community:
- Bike rodeo- an event that teaches safe bicycling skills to kids and adults
- Community bike rides
- Safety improvements (see next section for details)
- Bike light/gear giveaways
- Close down the street! One day a year (or more), close down a street in your community for bicycle and pedestrians.
- Create maps showing safe bike routes
If you need help coming up with an idea, or want to talk about implementing one of these ideas, call the NCRPA office at (919) 832-5868.
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