11 September 2009

Bicycle Parking Survey

This is a cool little voxpop video from Copenhagen X. Outside the Copenhagen Business School they asked a simple question.

How far away from where you're going are you willing to to park your bicycle?

The answers are telling. When the bicycle is such a saturated part of life in a city, you want instant access to it. This is why despite fine cellar parking or bike sheds in courtyards many bikes are just leaned up against buildings.

If you can't get out your front door and unlock your bike and mount it in 30-45 seconds, it's an irritation. The bicycle is a tool and if your toolbox is kept down in the cellar or up in the attic or high on a shelf that requires a ladder, it's an irritation when you have to find a screwdriver.

The film is in Danish, save one student speaking English, but here's a transcript.

Man 01: Maximum 30 metres.

Man 02: I'd say quite far... 25-50 metres.
Interviewer: That's the maximum?
Man 02: Yeah, that's the pain perimeter.

Woman 01: 10 metres. I don't know. Maybe longer. But of course you want to park close to where you're going.

Man 03 [young]: 200 metres, or else closer. I can just lean it up against a wall.

Man 04: There's nothing wrong with 100 metres.

Man 05: 300-400 metres. That's a guess.

Man 06: [Speaks English] I don't want to block anything so within reasonable limits. 5-10 metres. If there's an assigned parking spot I don't have a problem parking it there and walking... 100 metres.

Woman 02: Um... I don't know... 100 metres perhaps?

Woman 03: Honestly, I don't think you can do anything about it. I think we should just let bicycles be bicycles and life be life. They invade everywhere. Unless we spend a whole lot of energy on underground bicycle parking then I don't think you can do anything about it. We've tried for years on this square to stop people from parking here but it's impossible. I park here myself. That's life. It won't be solved.

I suspect that some of the respondees were a little unclear about distance measurement, like the chap who said 300-400 metres. That's a lightyear in this bicycle culture. The most telling, and true to reality, were the answers that were under 50 metres, and especially the 5-10 metres responses.

An interesting little anthropological survey.


Just a cyclist said...

When going to town, I'd be exalted if I could find a SAFE spot within, say, 500m (obviously, this is an inherent contradiction...). Not sure whether this would be possible in CPH either.

William said...

I really liked "We've tried for years [...]to stop people from parking here but it's impossible. I park here myself. That's life. It won't be solved."

Yeah, don't fight lazyness. Embrace it, and make it work for you.

And Just a Cyclist, I know your pain. I'm hardly ever able to find a safe spot within 500 meters of anywhere I am. Not until after I'm at least 500 meters away.

(Sarcasm on the internet can be difficult. I was sincere about the laziness, and sarcastic about the safe zones. Just so you know)

Anonymous said...

Wanted to send you this link to a story you should highlight but couldn't find an email address on your blog: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/sep/08/cycling-to-school

Mikael said...

thanks for the link. the email is on the right column under Comments? Links worth sharing?

Kim said...

Living on the 3rd floor with no where at ground level to keep my bike, I find my self leaving the bike at home and walking for journeys of less than 2Km even thought the bike would be faster.

If I had a safe place to keep my bike at ground level I would use it far more often when going to the shops. If only there was safe secure cycle parking in every street. Maybe one day.

kfg said...

Discover the joys of the $25 (or less) used "beater" bike. When it gets stolen; it gets stolen.

If properly lubed and adjusted you might well be surprised (no matter how ugly and rusty it LOOKS) at how good and downright USEFUL such a bike really is; and how little you end up using your "good" bike.

Protip: If it's a "10 speed" strip off the front gear changer. Put the chain on the small/middle ring. It's the only one you're going to use anyway so the changer just creates the annoyance of having to "trim" it whenever you shift the rear. On those rare occasions when you feel you need the big ring, just move it by hand.

Super Protip: Adjust the rear changer so that it won't shift onto the smallest cog; and possibly also the largest. You're left with the gears you actually use and shifting is a breeze because you only have to trim for the middle gear(s).

Kevin Love said...

Toronto has done such a good job with its iconic "post and ring" stands that I'm used to having parking immediately outside wherever I'm going.

50% of the time there is parking within 5 metres, 90% of the time there is parking within 15 metres, and only 10% of the time does demand overwhelm parking spot supply to the extent that I have to go more than 15 metres.

Toronto is very good about removing derelict bikes that clog parking spots. There is a City telephone number to call, and I suspect that local merchants are swift to do so to ensure that there is adequate parking in front of their shops.

townmouse said...

@kfg - the problem with getting a cheap bike and not worrying about it is that once you've got it set up nicely, it's just as much a pain to have it stolen as an expensive one. Especially if you're 10 miles from home...

kfg said...

It is always both a financial loss and a pain to have shit stolen (even if you got the shit for "free"). I might have only paid $100 for a Chinese "beater" fiddle (or had given to me) that I only use for camping, beach parties and outdoor weddings, but I can't do anything like just buying another when it falls apart/gets stolen, because I have maybe another $100 into it and weeks of "fiddling" with it to make it "right."

But I'm not going to *quit fiddling* because of that (just as I'm not going to quit fiddling because I don't dare risk a fine/antique fiddle at the beach, where such a fiddle would be pointless anyway). I'm going to fiddle and cope, as best I can, when shit inevitably happens.

And we aren't talking about a bike that gets stolen, leaving you stranded ten miles from home (which could be ANY bike, not just your beater). We're talking about a bike that gets stolen from in front of your own door, because you leave it outside all the time, to grab to run to the local, from whence you can just walk home if you have to, because if you didn't have the bike you would have just walked in the first place.

So if it isn't worth the hassle to you, just walk. Walking is nice too. I like walking.

Just a cyclist said...

A safe spot that I'd definitely use (and pay for) within a 500 m radius would be the spanish BICEBERG automatic parking.

anna said...

How close I want my bike parked really depends on how long I am away. If I just want to post a letter in post office than I don't want to walk 500m there and back. But if I go to the cinema for two hours I don't mind that so much (safe parking is more an issue than).

Adrienne Johnson said...

I am happy to just have anything to lock to. So many of the sidewalks in SF are too narrow for all of the bikes locked to every stationary object in sight. There have been so many times when I have had to ask to sit at certain tables in cafes and restaurants so that I can see my free locked bike. I would walk a couple of blocks for god parking- I already do when I drive my car.