Friday, June 6, 2014

on bike parking, sharing and secure locking

Recently I've seen more folks getting out and about in the neighborhood by bike - a sight I welcome. The downside - some appear to be newbies who don't quite understand how to use the longer wave-style racks that we have in some locations.  The fact that the 10-bike rack in front of the public library on 95th is incorrectly installed (too close to the wall) doesn't help.  In most places, racks are correctly installed with enough space to use them as designed.

Failing to share on 95th St.
Yesterday I was trying to park my bike on 95th St. and was disappointed to see the bike in the above photo blocking 4 out of 6 available spaces on the rack where it was locked.  Someone could have locked another bike parallel to this one, limiting the rack to half the capacity for which it was intended.  These racks are designed for the bikes to be parked perpendicular to the rack, not parallel.  

This is how you do it.

Using rack as designed, so that all spaces are available for bikes
Note: for a 2-bike rack, either way is okay, but parking perpendicular can allow a 3rd bike to be locked over the top of the rack - a common practice in places where demand for bike parking is high.

I also see lots of folks locking their bikes in such a way that even an amateur bike thief could easily take them. I don't want to see anyone lose their ride for such a preventable reason.  Here are a few pointers to help keep your bike secure.  

1. Don't rely on a cable lock to offer real security. They can be easily cut with bolt cutters and then your bike is gone.

2.   If you're leaving your bike for a few hours, or all day, it's best to secure both wheels and the frame.  If you're just stopping into a store or restaurant for a short time, securing one wheel and the frame can be enough, at least here in the 19th ward.  Downtown or in other high theft areas, you're better off fully securing the bike - both wheels and the frame.

3.  If you lock only the frame to the rack, your wheels can get stolen.  If you lock only one wheel to the rack, the rest of the bike can get stolen.

A few visual examples of good and bad practices

Bike theft is not as big a problem in the 19th ward as in some parts of the city, but it does happen. I hope that your bike stays yours and doesn't become a statistic.

Ride safe and have fun!

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