The benefits of bike infrastructure are no secret, and many cities have set forth recommendations for what creates the best bike rack. The most common recommendations are often intuitive: the more safety and security a rack guarantees, the more likely people are to use it. They should be well-lit, close to the entrances of the building(s) they are serving, and if not under camera surveillance, then within either the public eye or the biker’s eye at all times. They should be securely anchored to the ground and rust free. Some of the less-intuitive recommendations are: 

  1. Racks should be placed on main street intersections to allow both high visibility and less walking distance to/from high-traffic areas (Bike Walk KC, SFMTA, Town of Chapel Hill
  2. Short-term racks should not require a bike be lifted off the ground to use them (City of Sacramento, Portland Oregon, SFMTA)
  3. Long-term and racks with overhead coverings should be placed outside destinations people tend to stay a long time, such as hotels or work buildings (Bike Walk KC, City of Sacramento, Philly OTIS, Portland Oregon, SFMTA, Strong Towns, Town of Chapel Hill, Urban Design LA)
  4. If racks are in a parking garage, they should be on the main entrance level (Montgomery Planning, SFMTA, Urban Design LA)
  5. Racks should be marked with highly visible and reflective signs, so people are aware they are there (Engineering, Montgomery Planning, Philly OTIS, Pittsburgh, SFMTA, Town of Chapel Hill, Urban Design LA)
  6. They should be easily accessible from all sides and not up large curbs or stairs, have no sharp edges, and be able to accommodate more than just the standard bicycle, such as “tricycles, hand cycles, tandems, electric motor assisted cycles, and cargo cycles” (Portland Oregon) (City of Orlando, Portland Oregon, SFMTA, Town of Chapel Hill, Urban Design LA
  7. Not all racks are created equal, and some designs are just bad news. Ideally, racks should not put stress on the bike’s wheels, and should have at least 2 points of contact with the bike (Bike Walk KC, City of Orlando, City of Sacramento, Flagstaff, Montgomery Planning, Philly OTIS, Pittsburgh, Portland Oregon, SFMTA, Strong Towns, Town of Chapel Hill, Urban Design LA)

When there are no separate, secure bike lanes, roads with 20-25mph limits are ideal for bikers (NACTO), and downtown Fredericksburg rarely exceeds a 25mph limit. All the more reason to bike downtown!