Cambridge Cycle Parking Guide

Section 3: Detailed design

3.1 How do users get to it?

Cycle parking should always be close to the entrance
Cycle parking near the entrance

People should be able to cycle right to their parking space. Walking should be kept to a minimum. 10m is reasonable, over 20m is not, and people are likely to park bicycles insecurely and inconsiderately against the nearest lamp post, fence etc.

Paths leading to the cycle parking should be light, open and attractive, and designed to TA 90/05* (see Appendix A2).

Cycle parking should be located at ground level. Many people find ramps difficult to negotiate and manhandling bikes up stairs impossible. Ramps should be wide (4m), gradients shallow (3% max), and free from sharp changes in direction.

Lifts must be suitable for non-standard bikes, trailer bikes etc.

* Traffic Advisory Leaflet 90/05 “The geometric design of pedestrian, cycle and equestrian routes”

3.2 How do users find it?


Cycle parking should always be in a obvious, prominent location, close to the entrance. Where the cycle parking is not immediately obvious it should be clearly signed. Using contrasting materials or surfacing for the path to the cycle park also helps.

3.3 What kind of parking?

User preferences are clear. Sheffield stands at the back are full, proprietary stands and wheel grippers remain unused
Designer stands

There are many styles of proprietary “cycle storage” systems available. Few perform as well as the simple Sheffield (inverted U) stand. Sheffield stands give good support, good security and multiple locking points. They are cheap, flexible, and work for all different styles of bikes.

A number of common variations on the basic inverted U are available. Rounded A frame stands are very popular (see figure 1). In conservation areas stainless steel stands or timber and cast iron “hitching rails” look more in keeping than galvanised or painted hoops. Stainless steel stands do not deteriorate over time. In contrast galvanised and painted stands often become rusty after a few years’ use.

Stands that support the cycle by gripping the wheels alone, sometimes known as “butterfly stands”, should not under any circumstances be used.

Unless there are very good reasons for doing otherwise always specify Sheffield or rounded A frame stands.

Never buy or install butterfly stands – they are totally insecure and often result in bent wheels and stolen bikes The Sheffield stand is almost always the preferred option
Wheelbenders - avoid at all costs Sheffield stands

3.4 Size matters

A correctly proportioned stand provides support to the front and rear wheels, and just below the saddle. Unfortunately many stands are incorrectly sized, and give poor support as a result. Small bikes may fall straight through an oversized stand. An appropriate proportion of stands adapted for smaller bikes should always be provided.

Dimensions for a Sheffield Stand
Height to horizontal tube 750 mm
Leg spacing 750 mm

For drawings of other types of stand see Figure 1.

Wall loops may be considered when space is very limited
Wall loop for when there is very limited space

3.5 Solutions for limited space

Sometimes there just isn’t any space, and you only need parking for a couple of bikes. If you don’t have any space on which to put stands but you have a spare wall or shop front then wall loops or locking rails can provide a useful facility. They are no substitute for Sheffield stands but can provide parking where all other options would be impossible, and will dissuade people from leaning bikes against shop windows.

3.6 Secure lockers, compounds and supervised parking

Open stands do not provide sufficient security where cycles are to be parked overnight, or for long periods of time, or in locations that are poorly overlooked where there is a higher risk of theft and vandalism. For terraced housing without rear access we recommend 75% in conveniently positioned open racks, 25% in secure compounds – users of lower value bikes will tend to opt for convenience over security.

Cycle parking indoors Lockers
Providing secure bicycle parking in well illuminated and easy to monitor spaces Note that two tier cycle parking is unpopular and should be avoided

3.7 How is it laid out?


Cycle parking should be laid out in precisely the same way as a car park is laid out.

Individual parking BAYS are grouped in pairs either side of a shared STAND.

The bays are accessed from an AISLE with parking bays on one or both sides.

Dimensions are given below, see figures 1 to 4.

Cycle Parking Basic Dimensions (metres) Cycle Parking Car Parking equivalent
Desirable Minimum
Bay width per bike 0.6m 0.5m 2.4m
Spacing between stands 1.2m 1m
Wider bay for people with heavy shopping or young children 0.65 – 0.8m 3.6m
Bay Length 2m 1.8m 4.8m
Access aisle width 3 – 4m 1.8m 7m
Aisle to accommodate trailer bikes 4m 3m
Total width – parking one side 5 – 6m 3.6m 11.8m
Total width – parking both sides 7 – 8m 5.4m 16.6m

3.8 Other considerations

Stands should best be placed on buildouts so that they do not represent a hazard to pedestrians

Covered parking

Covered parking is a minimum requirement for commuters and overnight parking – and it encourages shoppers too
  • Lighting – essential for personal security and for parking after dark.
  • Weather protection – essential for commuters and overnight parking.
  • Partially sighted pedestrians. Poorly designed cycle parking can be a hazard.
    1. Place cycle parking in buildouts in the roadway or align with planting and street furniture.
    2. Fit a tapping rail to the first and last stand. Use strongly contrasting colours as a visual warning. Stainless steel stands should have a brushed finish.
    3. Use contrasting coloured and textured paving. This could be formal hazard warning (corduroy) paving or a more subtle use of material such as introducing cobbles or setts.
  • Linked “toastrack” stands should have flat, not round, linking bars. These should be no more than 500mm apart to prevent interference with the wheels.
  • Cycle parking should always be placed on level ground. Where this cannot be achieved, the racks should be aligned parallel to the contours so that bikes do not tend to roll down the slope.
  • Cycle parking areas should be clean and well maintained to deter anti-social behaviour, and to make users feel safe and welcome.
Always align stands across the slope, not down it
Alignment of stands on a slope

On-street cycle parking example Bikes with baskets Pavement left clear