Bike racks enable the bike to be supported and secured, but must meet other key requirements too.

Basic Requirements:

Supports the bicycle frame and the front wheel

Bike parking that only supports the wheel of a bike is called a ‘wheelbender’ for good reason.

What to look for:

  • The frame of the bike is supported, not only the wheel
  • The bike is well supported in more than one point of contact.  This means it won’t ‘dance’ around, and won’t easily fall if knocked.

Is secure and enables secure locking

As biking increases so does bike-theft.  Some bike locks are easy to cut and opportunistic thieves will also steal parts and accessories from bikes.

Secure bike parking:

  • Is securely attached to an immovable object.
  • Enables locking of both frame and wheel with a rigid ‘D-lock’, a cable lock or a combination of the two.
  • Has a closed form – the rack should have aspects of closed form, either within the rack or between the rack and the ground so that a bike can be secured without the lock being slipped off or over the rack.
Source: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition – How to Lock your bike

Is safe for all users and bikes

Bike parking should not cause injury or obstruction for pedestrians, staff, bike users or their bikes.

Suitable bike parking:

  • Brushed Stainless steel should have a brushed finish to avoid glare
  • The addition of a tapping rail on end racks aids detection and navigation.
  • Use contrasting colour and textures
  • Width at the ‘tapping zone’ is indicative of overall widthCaters for visually impaired pedestrians.

Meets the minimum dimensions for size and spacing

Cycle Dimensions / Envelope Spacing – The dimensions of ‘standard’ bicycles should be considered: 1.8m length and .5m width, with additional allowance for access and manourvering.  Further on the cycle parking envelope information is contained within the Austroads manual.

Work for all types of bikes

E.g Cargo bikes, e-bikes, mobility trikes, racing bikes, childs bikes.  Examples are included in the Austroads manual.

Work for users of all ages and abilities

Bike parking must cater for a wide range of bicycle users.

  • Users may not have the strength to lift bikes, especially heavier e-bikes.  Alternatives to wall-mounted / multi-tier bike parking should be available for users who cannot lift bikes.
  • Small bike parking or mid-level rails should be provided for children’s bikes.
  • Wider parking bays are required for mobility tricycles.

Looks and works like bike parking

There are some great artistic and decorative options for bike parking.


  • Functionality and safety are essential.
  • It needs to look like bike parking – else it will not be used for fear of mistaking your art piece for bike-parking.

Type of Rack

Inverted U

An inverted U, (also known as a hoop, staple or Sheffield) is a highly functional rack design.


The following are recommended dimensions, measured from the finished ground surface to the top of the stand. Refer to section X for installation (spacing) dimensions.

Minimum 750mm high


Maximum 900mm high

Minimum 600mm wide


Maximum 1100mm wide

The addition of a cross bar at the midpoint (~375-500 mm) enables locking of smaller (child’s) bicycles as well as step-through frame cycles.Wellington City Council Inverted U with mid bar, in-ground.

For end stands it may also be helpful to include a tapping rail to support the visually impaired.

Bikes Welcome Bike Parking Guidelines recommended dimensions and envelope
Bikes Welcome Bike Parking Guidelines recommended dimensions and envelope

Recommended minimum and maximum dimensions for an inverted-u bike rack, plus indicative requirements for ‘novelty’ rack designs.

Note: bicycle handlebar widths vary greatly (550 – 700mm) and will be wider than the 500mm envelope shown.  This is accommodated by spacing the racks and allowing adequate aisle and access widths between racks, and a layout that enables users to position their bikes effectively, e.g. top and tailing.

Materials, Specifications and Warranties


The main considerations are: durability, maintenance time and cost, non-damaging to bikes or people, and fit with the local environment.  In a coastal environment corrosion resistance is a major consideration. In our harsh climate UV stability is also an important factor when selecting any protective coating.

Most Durable


Less Durable
Stainless Steel – Marine Grade 316Thermoplastic Coated (heavy duty, suitable for marine environment)Powder coated Double Dip GalvanizedGalvanized Steel

For more information on Rack Materials and Coatings refer to: Essentials of Bike Parking (APBP)


Use these specifications as guidance to help you choose a supplier and specify rack requirements.  Always talk to the supplier about where the rack will be located to ensure the rack supplied and proposed installation is suitable.

Tool resistanceAll parts of the stand used for locking the bike must withstand cutting by a 300mm, 24tpi hacksaw, at a rate of 1 cycle per second, for a minimum of 120 seconds.
Tube size50-75mm diameter tubing
Thickness of tube wall2.5mm minimum
Base plate150x150x6mm base plate welded to posts if bolted to surface


A base plate or dowel at the base of inground posts will help prevent it being pulled out.

FootingsWhen installed in ground footings should add 350mm-400mm to allow sufficiently deep installation.
Minimum service life20 years (10 year minimum between repainting where appropriate).

From Cambridge Cycle Parking Guide


Seek out a supplier warranty that reflects the useful life and specific location and use of the stand.

Materials and installation should be correctly specified to ensure maximum useful life.



Click on the images below to see further examples in each category.

Rack Variants

It is possible to creative a variation of the preferred design providing the basic requirements are met. Here are some examples to consider.

Situation Specific Variants

Some styles of bike parking might be suitable in specific situations.

Designs To Avoid

These examples are not adequate bike parking for the reasons noted.