Sheltered bicycle parking is particularly utilized in cities with rainy climates, but can also serve to protect cyclists and their bicycle from other forms of extreme weather such as snow or sun. These shelters are often similar in construction to bus shelters, though some weather protection can also be provided by awnings and overhangs.

The spacing requirements for the bicycle racks within the shelter are no different than those for regular unsheltered short-term parking. However, the overall footprint of the sheltered bicycle parking is somewhat larger due to the addition of a roof and footings to support the roof.

Shelters can either provide basic weather protection, or they can provide advanced security with features such as secured side panels, access controls and surveillance. In either case, these are engineered stand-alone structures and considerations of proximity, set-back, material choice, long term maintenance and management need to be taken into account.


Bike Cages

Bike cages are usually provided to create longer term parking solutions that provide a facility with limited access control. Cages can be constructed from a variety of materials and are generally constructed near the entrances to buildings often by simply enclosing areas that are under walkways or roofs or within vehicle parking facilities. Even when access is limited appropriate racks should be provided inside the cage to allow bikes to be properly locked. Access can be via a managed key system and standard lock or via electronic card access systems commonly found in moderns buildings.


The quality of the enclosure material is important. While chain-link fence may increase the perceptions of security it is not very difficult for a thief to cut through.


  Pros Cons
Chain-Link Visual deterrent Easily cut through
Weilded Mesh Stronger than above Can be cut or pushed through if not properly secured
Expanded Steel Mesh 3/4" #9 Recommended / preferred  
Steel Bar Grating Very strong, difficult to cut Higher cost
Other Materials/Solid Visually appealing Visability into the cage



Bicycle cages can include design elements that improve their look and better fit within their surroundings. For example, steel panels can provide the required level of security while a designed wood fascia can be applied to add aesthetic appeal.


Bike Rooms

Bike rooms are located within a building and are more secure due to their limited access. Like bicycle cages, bike rooms contain a series of racks and can also be equipped with a basic maintenance area that could include a bike stand, basic tools, and an air pump. The capacity of the room can be maximized by providing double-decker or vertical racks (though consideration should be made for users who might have difficulty accessing these types of facilities). Security can be further increased through the use of security cameras, or by locating the room within the view of staff. Small personal lockers can be included to allow users to store bicycle accessories or other personal items.


The best bike rooms:

  • avoid consecutive doors which can hinder easy access
  • if doors are unavoidable the space between each should be enough to allow the bicycle to pass completely through before reaching the next door
  • doors should be automatic opening if at all possible
  • have corridor widths that are sufficiently wide so that there is both easy access and allows for easy turning movements
  • are in well lit, convenient locations and can be used intuitively
  • provide enough space to comfortably navigate when the facility is under high usage
  • are supported by nearby change room and/or washroom and shower facilities



Bike Parking Guide - Best Bike Rooms
2 Cambridge 2010




Lockers can provide cyclists with a means of effectively securing their bicycle without having to carry and use a U-lock. They provide additional security to the bicycle because they form a physical barrier between the thief and the bike. Bike lockers provide the highest level of security because access is controlled in contrast to short term parking where the rack is open to public use.

Bike Lockers should:

  • be on a level surface, and are usually placed on concrete
  • be attached to the surface through the use of anchor bolts
  • have a built in floor, as those without can be pried away in order to expose the bicycle


Lockers can be misused and can be difficult to monitor precisely because of their additional security. Lockers can be used to store undesirable or dangerous contents. For this reason lockers with viewing windows or slates allow for security personnel to examine the contents periodically.


Bike Parking Guide - Bike Lockers
3 Thunderbay, n.d.



Access Control and Locking Considerations for Cages, Rooms & Shelters

A variety of locking systems are available including:

  • mechanical locking devices with non-duplicable keys issued by management
  • digital user access devices including magnetic stripe cards, proximity cards and fobs, keypads and display screens
  • coin operated systems which allow for multiple users
  • locking systems that utilize personal locks in order to allow for multiple users




Regular inspection of long term bike parking facilities is required to ensure safety and proper working order.

  • training may be required to provide staff the skills needed to either make repairs or notice damage
  • complete regular checks
  • oil the doors
  • check the bolts
  • occasionally the facility will need to be cleaned, and abandoned bikes may need to be removed
  • ensure at least two weeks’ notice is given to all users to allow the owner an opportunity to claim their bicycle when cleaning is taking place
  • consider establishing a relationship with either a local or international cycling charity to whom you could donate the abandoned bicycles
  • wood structures may need to be refinished each year
  • galvanized steel will require maintenance less regularly but may not be as attractive

4 Thunderbay, n.d.



Optimizing Long Term Parking

There are a number of solutions that may be considered for long term parking that may not be appropriate in the case of short term parking. You may want to use designs which increase space efficiency through the use of a second level of bicycle storage or by allowing bicycles to be mounted vertically on the walls.


Bike Parking Guide - Optomizing Long Term Parking



Pros Cons
increased space efficiency moving parts are susceptible to malfunction and require periodic inspection
increased storage options within the facility design may not be intuitive so instructional signage may need to be provided to prevent misuse and injury



5 Toronto, 2008  



References & Resources

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