How to Choose the Right Bike Racks for On-Street Bike Parking?

August 07, 2023

Bike parking is rising in demand across cities worldwide. Many councils, businesses, town planners and property developers know the need to change our ways of travelling. Active travel and encouraging more people to walk and bike to work, school, and while doing their daily chores is becoming a priority for national and local policymakers.

Cycling is a great tool which can be used in the fight against climate change and making our cities healthier and more people-centric places to live in. A crucial component in strategies to encourage more people to leave their four wheels and swap them for two is bicycle parking. There needs to be more of it, it needs to be strategically placed, and it needs to be safe and convenient to use.

A piece of the cycle parking puzzle is on-street bike parking. Plenty of places around us could do with more bike parking, but there isn't space for installing a proper bike shelter or building a complex cycling hub. Choosing the right racks for on-street bike parking is crucial to ensure functionality, security, and efficiency. Here are the key considerations when selecting bike racks for on-street parking.


Whenever you are planning to buy a product that will be used outdoors, you need to think about durability. This is determined by the quality of the materials, the rack design and the manufacturing. You should look for bike racks made from high-quality materials, such as steel or stainless steel, that can withstand outdoor conditions and heavy usage. If you are unsure about the differences in finishes and types of steel, you can check our guide on the different metal finishes of bike storage products.

Bike Capacity

Next should be the question of usage and how many bike racks you need. To determine the number of bikes you want to accommodate, consider the expected demand for bike parking in the chosen location and select racks that offer sufficient capacity without overcrowding the area. There are a lot of bike racks and bike stands that can be used by two bikes simultaneously, like our Toastrack Bike Stand, which can accommodate from 4 to 12 cycles depending on how many hoops you want.

Bike Security

Next, you'd want to think about one of the most important things for cyclists – the security of their bikes. A simple cycle rack or a bike stand won't provide the security of a locked bike shed or a large gated bike security enclosure. However, there are still things to look out for when selecting an outdoor bike rack. You need to choose racks that allow cyclists to lock their bikes securely. The best bike stands have multiple locking points, such as loop-style or U-shaped racks, which provide enough space to secure the frame and both wheels with a U-lock or cable. A great simple example is our Frankton Cycle Stand, where the user can lock their wheels and frame with a chain to the stand.

Spacing and Accessibility

Once you've selected a good bike rack, ensure that the racks offer adequate spacing between bikes to avoid handlebar interference and make it easy for cyclists to park and retrieve their bikes. Or if you are installing something like the Traditional Sheffield Bike Stand, remember that you need to install each bike stand at a sufficient distance from walls, fences, and other bike stands so that cyclists have enough space to park on both sides of the bike stand. If you install them too close, you'd be wasting parking space as cyclists can only park on one side, and there is always the danger of two bikes rubbing each other too close, which could lead to damage. The minimum spacing between Sheffield stands should be 1000mm.

Ideally, if you have enough space, you would consider the accessibility of the racks to ensure that people with various bike types, including cargo bikes or bikes with trailers, can use them comfortably.

Bike Support

When choosing what to install, it is a good idea to think about the users – nobody wants to leave their bike at a cycle parking spot only to find the bike rack damaged it. Choose racks that provide good support for the bike frame, preventing potential damage or scratches. Avoid racks with sharp edges or rough surfaces that could harm the bike's finish.

City Regulations and Standards

Some cities may have specific guidelines on rack design, spacing, materials, etc. Ensure you check that with your local authority to avoid costly mistakes.

Installation and Maintenance

Another thing to plan for in advance is installation and maintenance. For the installation, you need to consider the chosen surface and if a rack you want can be installed on it. Generally, most surfaces can be worked around by pouring concrete to secure the bike rack. However, consult us if you have any doubts – it is always best to be sure before you purchase.

Next – think about the maintenance. Look for racks that are easy to install securely to the ground and require minimal upkeep over time. For this reason, most of our products are steel and stainless steel; the materials are durable, require minimal maintenance, and last long, even in harsh conditions.

Visibility and Aesthetics

Lastly, you may also want to think about looks. This is entirely up to you, the location and the aesthetic you seek. You can choose bike racks that are highly visible and easily identified by cyclists. Consider racks with bright colours or reflective elements ideal for low-light conditions, like the London Cycle Stand. Or choose to have clean and sleek stainless steel, which complements the overall aesthetics of your surrounding area. We offer a lot of choices to be able to cater to different tastes and ideas of how your bicycle parking space should look like.

Additional Features

Clients often choose simple and sturdy designs without any extras for outdoor on-street bike parking. However, some bike racks have additional features, such as built-in signage indicating the presence of bike parking, like our Tall Stand or reflective tape, for example. Add-ons are an avenue worth exploring and are entirely based on your specific needs.

Installing more spaces for bike parking across cities is needed. However, such installations should always be done with the end user in mind. So, when you start your project yourself, what would cyclists want, need and benefit from? We are always here to help with your bicycle parking requirements and are always happy to answer questions.

Bike Dock Solutions Team

Bike Dock Solutions is the UK's leading supplier of Bike Shelters, Bike Racks and other Bike Storage. Follow us on LinkedIn.