Bike parking in Copenhagen snow
Copenhagen puts focus on bike parking

Copenhagen is racing to its goal of 50% of people riding a bike to work or education by 2025 – but there is a hurdle in the way – not enough bike parking.

The city last year counted all the bikes parked on its streets: there were more than 200,000. The city has 180,000 bike spaces available, so occupancy rate was 111%.

But curiously 45% of the bikes were not parked in the parking areas, indicating the rails may have been in the wrong place.

With modelling showing that bike traffic will increase by 25% by 2025, what is the city to do? Where to get the space for 50,000 new parking rails?

Well, Copenhagen also has 126,000 car parking spaces, mostly on the street. This parking takes up 1.89 million square metres of kerbside space, or 12% of the total road area.

Yet its 180,000 bike spaces take up only 0.17 million square metres, or just 1% of road space.

This staggering disparity highlights the waste and inefficiency of using valuable kerbside road space for car storage – 8 to 12 bikes can fit in a single car space.

So again, the Danes will lead the world by converting car parking to bike parking, further strengthening the booming economy in the national capital.

The strategy presents five types of initiatives:

1. Bike parking in construction

At the bigger stations and in the medieval part of the city, integrated solutions in construction can be designed as a separated underground facility or in an existing basement, car parking, ground floor or other. Such facilities will free up space in the urban area for other functions.

2. Conversion of car parking into bicycle parking and flex parking

One car parking space can be converted to 8-12 bicycle parking spaces. Converting car parking to bicycle parking is therefore a relevant solution to places with little space on the pavements as it is the most cost-effective way to create sufficient bicycle parking capacity. Flexible solutions can allow car and bicycle parking at different times of the day. This solution is also applicable for larger, temporary events.

3. Traditional bike parking

At locations with the biggest need for bicycle parking, the City of Copenhagen has often already placed as many traditional stands as possible in the given urban spaces. However, the stands will continue to play a role in places in the city where there is space, for example on existing sidewalks, in designated areas or by sidewalks.

4. Capacity optimization

In order to optimise the existing capacity, there is a need to guide bike riders to available stands and to appropriate parking. Furthermore, removing abandoned bikes and moving improperly parked bikes can make valuable space available for other purposes.

5. Development of new types of parking facilities

In 2016 and 2017, the City of Copenhagen has been prototyping bike stands, including vertical and multifunctional stands as well as stands for cargo bikes.

These stands can optimize space consumption, protect against theft, or support other functions in the urban space.

Finally, the City of Copenhagen is seeing a potential for developing stands that can be placed in the drip line of trees without destroying the roots of the trees. Bike parking can be more harmonious in the urban space when integrated under a leaf canopy, utilizing the space under the trees while also protecting them.