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What are the considerations in using portable bicycle racks for special events?

Washington Area Bicyclist Association offers valet bicycle parking at the 2008 Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C.

Photo: WABA.

Ample bicycle parking at special events that is properly sited and well promoted may decrease traffic congestion and promote personal health by encouraging event attendees to arrive by bicycle. Providing free valet bicycle parking, where attendees can leave their bicycles in a secure and monitored environment without the nuisance of carrying a heavy lock or the fear of theft or vandalism, may make such parking even more attractive.

Effective marketing strategies for valet bicycle parking.

Photo: WABA

Organizers of large events interested in providing a secure bicycle storage area can simply add additional crowd control fences. Crowd control fencing, which looks similar to school-yard style bicycle racks, is used to block off specific areas or organize the flow of foot traffic. This type of fencing can be used as a bicycle parking enclosure that also offers secure bicycle parking.

Crowd control fencing used for bicycle parking.

Photo: WABA

Portable bicycle racks are often used for special events. Although portable bicycle racks may be used in the interior of any bicycle parking enclosure, they are more effective when no perimeter fencing is required. At events where existing bicycle parking is inadequate, but people are expected to bring bicycle locks, portable event racks can provide increased parking capacity. A large number of racks may be needed to cordon off an area, which presents both storage and transportation issues. Columbia, Missouri, handles these issues by having the Parks and Recreation staff pick up bicycle racks stored by GetAbout Columbia's On-Street Bikeways and Parking Manager. City staff delivers the racks to the event site the night before. After the event, they retrieve and return the racks. To prevent bicycles being left on racks, signs are posted on the racks reminding cyclists to remove their bicycles at least one-half hour before staff returns to pick up the racks.

Image source: Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)