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Road Rights – In War Over Parking, Cyclists Look To Lock Bikes

By December 9, 2011October 23rd, 2021No Comments

In most cities, cyclists have nowhere to lock their bikes legally. Here’s how to change that.

By Bob Mionske

Whether your bike takes you to work or just on the occasional coffee run, when there’s no rack at your destination, riding suddenly becomes a less practical means of getting around.

After all, cyclists are often prohibited not only from bringing bikes inside, but also from locking them to posts or railings.

Of course, we’ve always made use of whatever structures are available. But law enforcement can, and sometimes does, impound illegally parked bicycles, a fact New Yorkers know all too well.

The unfortunate truth is that in most places, cyclists don’t have the right to a safe place to park.

To change this, you must organize locally and lobby your elected representatives. Here are some points worth sharing with them.

The Demand Is There

In 2009, New York City began requiring the owners of commercial buildings equipped with at least one freight elevator to provide access for bicycle commuters.

Interestingly, even though the law does not apply to residential buildings, bicycle parking has become a popular real-estate marketing tool in that city.

Resources Are Available

Cities are increasingly coming up with creative solutions (see “Park Here,” below). Philadelphia has turned old parking-meter posts into bike racks; officials in New York plan to do the same.

In Los Angeles, a new law will require more parking spaces for cyclists and make it easier for developers to swap car parking for bike parking.

Bikes Mean Business

On-street corrals, or rows of bike racks, are a smart use of space. A single car-parking spot can fit 12 bicycles, according to the Clif Bar 2-Mile Challenge.

In other words, bicycle-friendly shopping districts could potentially draw more customers.

Assistance provided by Rick Bernardi, J.D.


Park Here!

Three genius bicycle-storage solutions. —Emily Furia

Vancouver, Washington

Top off your tires before heading home using one of the floor pumps attached to some of Vancouver, Washington’s bike racks. Or protect your baby from thieves and the elements by stowing it in one of the city’s card-accessed bicycle lockers.

Long Beach, California—and beyond

Bicycle centers or stations offer secure, indoor bike parking, along with showers, lockers, and sometimes repairs. The first one opened in Long Beach in 1996. Today there are facilities in Minneapolis; Portland, Oregon; St. Louis; and Washington, D.C.


The city’s Kasai train station boasts the world’s largest bicycle garage; it can hold 9,400 bikes underground. Punch in a code, and an elevator retrieves your ride—in about 23 seconds.


This article, In War Over Parking, Cyclists Look To Lock Their Bikes Legally, was originally published on Bicycling on December 9, 2011.

Now read the fine print:
Bob Mionske is a former competitive cyclist who represented the U.S. at the 1988 Olympic games (where he finished fourth in the road race), the 1992 Olympics, as well as winning the 1990 national championship road race.
After retiring from racing in 1993, he coached the Saturn Professional Cycling team for one year before heading off to law school. Mionske’s practice is now split between personal-injury work, representing professional athletes as an agent and other legal issues facing endurance athletes (traffic violations, contract, criminal charges, intellectual property, etc).
Mionske is also the author of Bicycling and the Law, designed to be the primary resource for cyclists to consult when faced with a legal question. It provides readers with the knowledge to avoid many legal problems in the first place, and informs them of their rights, their responsibilities, and what steps they can take if they do encounter a legal problem.
If you have a cycling-related legal question, please send it to Bob will answer as many of these questions privately as he can. He will also select a few questions each week to answer in this column. General bicycle-accident advice can be found at
Important notice:
The information provided in the “Road Rights” column is not legal advice. The information provided on this public web site is provided solely for the general interest of the visitors to this web site. The information contained in the column applies to general principles of American jurisprudence and may not reflect current legal developments or statutory changes in the various jurisdictions and therefore should not be relied upon or interpreted as legal advice. Understand that reading the information contained in this column does not mean you have established an attorney-client relationship with attorney Bob Mionske. Readers of this column should not act upon any information contained in the web site without first seeking the advice of legal counsel.