28 October 2009

Bike Racks With No Racks in Copenhagen

Parking Zone in Action
The City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office is currently testing a new bicycle parking idea at four locations in the city.
Copenhagen Bike Parking Zone
Bike rack-less bike parking.

In the hopes of getting people to, at the very least, stick their bicycles in one place, these bike parking zones have been painted on the ground.

Copenhagen Bike Parking Zone
In Danish the text reads "Place your bicycle here". It's an unorthodox way to do things, but the City is keen to run some tests to see if it works. Students are monitoring the parking zones and, if they are successful in their function, they'll be implemented in other locations around the city.

Copenhagen Bike Parking Zone
The all-important bicycle logo for the Bicycle Office - I bike Copenhagen (CPH) - is ever-present. Visual branding is paramount.

Here is a later article about a Flex-parking solution on another Copenhagen street.

The City of Amsterdam has tried out these parking zones and they were a big sucess. By all accounts it'll work here, too.


Richie said...

I don't understand - are the bikes locked? Or are there no bicycle thieves in Denmark?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it won't work in Spain. Not yet, anyway.

Most bikes don't have a kickstand, and a bike not locked to a fixed point is still a prime target for thieves. My bike has the set up to attach one of those rear wheel locks, but they're not even sold over here.

I envy you for that level of respect to other people's property.

William said...

The bikes have a simple lock on the rear stay, that goes through the rear wheel, so it can't turn.

The bike can still be picked up and moved, of course.

You can use a bigger lock, and lock it to something, but it's not really worth your time. If you take into a account how unlikely it is that your bike is stolen, then any lock that takes more than three seconds to lock, is just too unwieldy.

Dave said...

Isn't that just making bike thieves' life easier? Round here we're always being told how important it is to lock you bike to something, otherwise thieves just pick the bike up and put it in the back of a truck.

Frits B said...

The only I can imagine that this might have worked in Amsterdam is that there was no other way to park at all. Bikes are like horses in Westerns: you tie 'm up to something or they'll just wander away.

anna said...

Great. Amazing to see that in other places this works without cars parking there.

Cargo Cult said...

A bike parked like that here in Melbourne would disappear within minutes. The thief could pick up the bike and then destroy the lock in a private space - possibly in the privacy of his or her own home. Still, I love the idea.

Scottish Cyclist said...

Great idea, but sadly here in Scotland it would just be an invitation to cycle thieves

l' homme au velo said...

In Dublin it cannot be done,the Thieves are like Magpies that like bright Shiny Objects. Sometimes you need two Locks,one to Lock the Frame and a Cable to Lock the Wheels.

It is best not to leave your Bike for Hours at a time in Dublin. Try not to leave a Bike Overnight in the Street because there are hardly any Police to keep an Eye on whats going on. If you report anything Stolen you might have to wait up to two Hours before the Police show up.

sexify said...

This seems the most common form of short-term bike parking in Japan. (Osaka, at least - should've spent less time eating and more time travelling.)

Two quick examples:
Wheel locks only. Though some of the more filchable ones have a cable lock too. You fit more in if you don't use racks. These spaces aren't marked and appear to have become bike parking through habit rather than planning.

Who's going to go to the trouble of stealing a heavy old one-speed bike when they can buy a new one for next to nothing?

Of course, it does rely on having those (unbelievably useful) wheel locks. Anyone any idea where we can get these from outside of Denmark, the NL or Japan?


Anonymous said...

l' homme au velo, your capitalization is amazingly prolific. It reminds me of Jonathan Swift's original manuscripts. He capitalizes almost every noun in them.

Quite right about parking in Dublin. I still regret the one time I didn't lock the front wheel.

Anonymous said...

Who's going to go to the trouble of stealing a heavy old one-speed bike when they can buy a new one for next to nothing?

Of course, some people have 30-50km round trips to work, so they're probably not going to be using a heavy old one-speed bike.

So you still need some more secure system for them. Unless you don't care about long-distance cycling commuters.

Kevin Love said...

Toronto uses a post and ring stand that is quite effective. So far, I've still got my Pashley!

The City's goal is to instal 8,000 more stands this year.

A description of the stand is at:


townmouse said...

It's a good example of safety in numbers - bikes still get stolen, but your own bike is less likely to be the one that goes. When I was a student in Oxford, bikes were left in piles all over the city wherever students went, almost never locked to anything. There were rumours of thieves with vans scooping them up en masse, but it never seemed quite worth the effort of finding a space and locking it properly on the remote chance that it would get nicked vs. the certainty of being late for your tutorial

Adrienne Johnson said...

I do this in the US all the time. I use my rear wheel lock and then u-lock my front wheel to the frame. Between the weight, the locks, the center stand that no one knows how to use, the foot pegs on the kid seat that will take a chunk out of your thigh if you don't pay attention.... I doubt that anyone would take it. I wouldn't leave it all day like that, but for lunch with friends in high traffic areas, sure. My biggest fear is someone knocking it over or letting their toddler climb on it (both have happened).

Niki said...

I would still feel unsafe to leave my bike with a rear lock on. I'm always scared someone will steal my bike that I use a chain all the time.

However, it is a good idea for those who park only with a rear lock. Just look at the mess at Norreport st.

Richie said...

It's true that in my town - a suburb of New York City - I sometimes see bikes left unlocked or with a cable run through the wheel and the frame. I have a rear wheel lock and occasionally will use just use that if I'm going into a store for a minute. But in NYC, an unlocked bike, or one not secured to something, would be gone by the time you returned.

kfg said...

Townmouse: ". . .your own bike is less likely to be the one that goes. . ."

Hence the group name; A Bait Ball of parked bikes.

Sean said...

@Sexify - I don't know where you are, but you can purchase a wheel lock from a shop in the US known as Clever Cycles: http://clevercycles.com/store/?c=web1.99&product=LBFRAME

I have ordered from them previously and had no trouble.

RetroGrouch said...

My son just came back to the railway station (Fairfield, Melbourne) to find his bike's handle-bars, brakes and saddle had been stolen. Thieves with Allen keys.

Melbourne Cyclist said...

RetroGrouch: I've just changed all my quick release wheels & other bits to supposedly anti-theft ones, that are fittings that take a five-sided allen key.

I did this because I was no longer feeling comfortable about locking my bike up in the middle of the city whilst attending a 6-9pm evening class. My worry wasn't that a serious thief would take anything - it's not an expensive bike, by any measure - but that an opportunist, whether that being someone looking for a quick ten bucks, or an easily amused drunk, or even an anti-cyclist*, might nab a wheel or the saddle.

And yeah, a serious thief could just rock up with a five-sided allen key and strip my bike, but to be honest, if they're going to do that, there's far too many much more worthwhile targets for them to bother with mine.

*speaking of anti-cyclists:
Note - I haven't watched the video, but it sounds like the bus acted dangerously, and then the cyclist over-reacted. I do not condone attacking people under any circumstances, but the 'reporter' is merrily playing on, and attempting to increase, the animosity between drivers and cyclists. Sadly, her views are fairly typical here in Aus :-(

James said...

This definitely wouldn't work here in Toronto. On Monday I biked to a client's office for a 1 hour meeting and when I returned to my bike someone stole my stainless steel water bottle and the bungee cords out of my basket.

Here's my twitter message shortly after this happened: http://twitter.com/jamesschwartz/status/5184784404

Dealsend said...

Great idea, if you live in a civilized world. If you don't you can always use some CCTV !!

Cargo Cult said...

Melbourne Cylist, I read that opinion piece too. Devine is your regular right-wing alarmist - I wouldn't take too much notice of her.

The cylist in question was illegally riding in a transit lane. Bad. The bus driver deliberately tried to veer in front of him. Bad. The cylist then assaulted the bus driver. Bad again. No winners in this story.

Anonymous said...

I can see this being cheaper but I am not convinced parked bikes on side stands take up less space than those leaning on a stand. Mark Garrett

Melbourne Cyclist said...

Cargo Cult - yeah, I kinda figured she was Kyle Sandilands in print, but it still really upsets me to see these pieces - a lot of people commented on it, and some of them are just scary :-(

I'm still riding though!

cloudsofviolet said...

adrienne, I'm in SF too, and I'm wondering, do you leave yours like that only when you can see/watch it? Cause even though I have a wheel lock too, I would still be afraid, even in a good district, to leave it not locked to something.

Marek Utkin (Warsaw, Poland) said...

Well, this can work only in a country, where for theft the hands were chopped-off. For period of some 300 years, as I can recall... Or were this the scary tales for children?

But don't you worry, due to ease of travel, old habits will be forgotten... ;-P

Bike Shop Girl said...

What about damages occurred if a kickstand fails or one bicycle knocks down another?

Mark said...

You know what, the opening line of this post says it all for me:
"The City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office..."

Your city has a bureau dedicated solely to bicycles??!!

*sigh* The world is an unjust place - I wanna come live in wonderful wonderful Copenhagen...

Hans said...

It is a very good idea I think. One of the down sides of a biking culture is the troubles caused by piles of bikes. It can be hard to find a spot for you bike, or it can be hard to find it again after a couple of hours.

I'm sure this will work very well, and encourage people to use their bike as well.

Anonymous said...

well then put a few pollers within that spot and connect your lock with it. done