Bicycle Parking

bicycle parking

Tips for Locking Your Bike

  • Find a place to park your bike in an area frequented by foot traffic to discourage theft and vandalism. For short term parking, try to find a place to park which you can still see from inside of the establishment.
  • Plan on using a cable, chain or U-lock. Some bike thieves can find cables and chains relatively easy to cut but in general good quality U-locks are the most difficult to break. In high theft areas plan on using two locking devices (an additional U-lock or an additional lock and cable).
  • No lock is totally secure, buy the best you can afford. A lock is still cheaper than purchasing a new bike. Some manufactures make very high-end locks and chains made specifically for high bike theft areas.
  • Lock your bike to a fixed object but beware of sign posts as sometimes they come out of the ground and allow thieves to slip the post right out of your lock, cable or chain.
  • Be sure to lock both wheels and the frame of the bicycle to a fixed object. Bike thieves are often looking for easy parts to steal such as wheels, seats, etc.
  • When using a U-lock, secure the bike frame and wheels in such a manner that you leave as little room as possible which might allow thieves to put a leaver or crowbar in to pry the lock apart.
  • Take note of whether or not your seat is secured by a quick release device. A quick release allows for easy seat height adjustment but makes your seat an easy victim for bike thieves. Replace the quick release with a standard nut and bolt or purchase a small cable and lock for your seat.
  • Remove items like bags, water bottles, and bike pumps unless you are prepared to lose them.
  • If you are planning to leave your bike in very public places (like rail stations) for long periods of time, you might consider buying a "beater" bicycle that is unattractive to bike thieves. Be sure to have any used bicycle checked out by a professional bicycle mechanic for safety.

LADOT Sidewalk Parking Program

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) Bicycle Program installs bicycle racks in the public right-of-way (City property) to encourage bicycling to shopping, school, and play. Bicycle racks provide secure, convenient, short-term bike parking at office buildings, businesses, or stores near public sidewalks.

Type of Rack

The LADOT Sidewalk Bike Parking Program uses an inverted-U bicycle rack. It is 36" high constructed of 2 3/8" galvanized pipe and holds two bikes. The rack provides good support to the bicycle, and users are able to lock both the wheels and frame of the bicycle to the rack. The rack has no sharp edges or moving parts and is virtually maintenance free.

picture: inverted u style bike rack

LA DOT Inverted U bike rack.

Rack Installation

Racks are installed at the request of business owners or citizens. The City assumes responsibility for the rack but not for bikes parked on it and the racks remain the property of the City of Los Angeles. The Bicycle Program will contact those requesting information about installation of bike rack to answer any questions about the program. There is no fee for a bicycle parking rack and installation is free. If you notice a rack has become loose or damaged please contact LADOT at 213-972-4972.

Bicycle Rack Location Criteria

Racks are installed in public right of way within the City of Los Angeles. They are placed to avoid conflicts with pedestrians and parked vehicles, usually near the curb and away from building entranceways or crosswalks. Racks may be installed by bus stops or loading zones only if they do not interfere with boarding or loading.

How to Request Bicycle Parking

To determine if your location qualifies for the program please review the bicycle rack location criteria above. You can call us at 213-972-4972 or complete an online Bicycle Parking Request Form or fax/mail a Bicycle Rack and Parking Request Form. The information should include: name of business, contact name, telephone number, street address, nearest cross street, number of racks requested, and Council District number.

Bicycle Parking Design Guidelines

While the City of Los Angeles will be happy to install parking racks for qualifying locations, we understand that there may be non-qualifying sites where owners are planning to install bicycle parking facilities. In those cases, may we offer the following guidlelines:

Do's of Bicycle Parking

grid style bike rack

Grid-style racks can damage wheels and are not recommended.

  • DO place short-term bicycle parking as close to the building entrance as possible. This increases security and makes bicycling a visible travel option to bicyclists and non-bicyclists.
  • DO make bicycle parking visible to bicyclists, building security, foot traffic, and anyone approaching the building. Making bicycle parking visible to foot traffic reduces the incidents of theft and vandalism.
  • DO provide lighting for bicycle parking areas if needed. Motorists as well as bicyclists prefer to park in a well-lit place and it's a theft deterrent.
  • DO install parking devices which support the frame of the bicycle, not just the wheel. Poorly designed bicycle parking devices bend the wheel and damage the bicycle.
  • DO install parking devices which accept a variety of locks. It's discouraging for a bicyclist to ride to a rack and be unable to lock to it.
  • DO make the parking facility simple. Many racks designed for short-term bicycle parking are too complex. Inverted-U's are simple, relatively vandal and maintenance proof, and accept a variety of locks.
  • DO keep the bicycle parking area clean. Bicyclists don't feel unkempt parking areas are secure. Plan for regular maintenance.
  • DO provide cover from the elements. Bicyclists don't want to sit on a wet seat or leave their bicycle out in the rain to rust.
  • DO develop a bicycle locker rental program that is low cost and convenient to encourage use by bicycle commuters.

Don'ts of Bicycle Parking

Bicycle parking placed by sprinklers exposes bicycles to potential water damage.

  • DON'T put short-term bicycle parking in an out-of-the-way place or put screening or landscaping around short-term bicycle parking. Hiding bicycle parking increases theft.
  • DON'T post "No Bike Parking" signage. If bicycles are being parked outside of the bicycle parking area, something is wrong with your bicycle parking. If signage is to be provided, place a sign indicating the location of bicycle parking.
  • DON'T place bicycle parking where irrigation systems water bicycles. This seems like common sense but happens quite frequently.
  • DON'T install lockers, or other bicycle racks, which could be used for anything other than bicycle storage. Coin-operated lockers can create maintenance and operation issues.
  • DON'T install bicycle parking devices which can be tripped over and could be a hazard to pedestrians and visible impaired.

Artist Designed Bicycle Parking Racks

The City of Los Angeles has developed projects which include the use of innovatively designed bicycle parking. The "Bicycle Stops Here" was a cooperative project of the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc), and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT). The project included the development of functional works of art at 10 different locations that can be used as bicycle racks:

New Projects in Design and/or Development include:

Once the initial project was in the ground, two other streetscape projects included artist designed bicycle racks: Hill Street racks and the Vermont racks.

Bicycle Parking at Transit Stations and Park & Ride Lots

picture: inverted u bike rack in use

LADOT Inverted U bike rack

The City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) offers bicycle parking at its Metrolink Stations and Park and Ride lots. Inverted-U bicycle racks are available at many stations. Inverted-U racks support the bicycle at two points on the frame and accept a variety of bicycle locks including u-locks and all cables and chains. When parking a bicycle to any

bicycle rack be sure to lock both wheels and the frame with the lock.

LA bike locker

LA bike locker

Bicycle lockers are pre-reserved, key operated, bicycle parking spaces. The bicyclist rides the bicycle up to the locker, rolls the bicycle in, leaves her helmet and bicycle shoes inside, and locks the door. No additional locks or cables are needed. This type of bicycle parking is considered the best protection against bicycle theft. The bicycle locker program for the City of Los Angeles Department of Transportation is operated by the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition call (213) 629-2142 to reserve a locker.

Bicycle Parking Equipment at various transit sites

Please see our section on parking equipment at transit centers and park and rides.