Studies show that public investment in integrated and safe cycling networks promotes urban transformation, providing more humanity, health and quality of life in urban spaces. While cities in the Netherlands and the Nordic countries have already incorporated bicycles into daily life, with a significant portion of the population using the means of transport for daily commutes, much of the world is still seeking a model to reduce congestion and increase its use. According to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP), investing in non-motorized transport allows congestion reduction, improves air quality, physical and mental health of residents, and local trade and brand visibility, once that cyclists tend to pay more attention to local commerce and take up less space than cars.
But along the cycle lanes and cycle paths it is essential to provide suitable places so that bicycles can be parked at the end of the trails. While bike stands are enclosed spaces, usually with some kind of surveillance and additional infrastructure, paracycles are the structures that allow to securely support and lock the bike. They can integrate in the urban furniture of a city, next to benches, plates, lamps and informative totems.
Most importantly, is that the paracycles are located near points of interest for pedestrians and cyclists, built of strong materials, well fixed to the floor and their geometry should preferably have elements that allow the frame and bicycle rims to be fixed, to prevent theft. A common mistake in cycling infrastructure deployment is not to consider the cyclist's path or path with the location of cyclists, that there are access ramps and that they follow the intended route of the cycle paths. This is to facilitate access and not make the journey longer.
But what are the main considerations that must be taken when implementing a paracycle?
1. Be visible and do not interrupt flows
For the success of this infrastructure, it is important that they are well located and have good visibility. This allows natural pedestrian surveillance and easy cyclist location. The paracycles should be installed as close as possible to the destination of cyclists, preferably near the entrance of the buildings. It is important not to obstruct pedestrian lanes, entrances and exits of the public, especially emergency ones, or lowered entrance and exit guides.
2. Minimum dimensions between paracycles
It is essential to leave a minimum separation of 80 cm between each paracycle for the best use, allowing to support 2 bicycles per structure.
3. Minimum dimensions for general design
Around it, provide enough space for the passage of a bicycle with your driver. Consider the minimum distance of 50 cm for any wall, wall, tree, or other element.
4. Materials for fixing
Think of materials that are robust and strong for everyday use and suitable for inclement weather, such as sunlight and corrosion. Generally, the structures are constructed of aluminum or galvanized steel, but there are paracycles that add a layer of rubber, to avoid scratches on the bicycles. On the floor it is important to have a slab of concrete, for the ideal fixation of the structure. The floor must be flat, without protrusions or cavities, assuming a difference of up to 5% in the transverse direction of the supports.
5. Think about their use with or without bicycles
It is interesting to think of their use also when they are empty. When there is no bicycle parked, think of a slimmer structure, which is pleasing to the eye and discreet. There are cities that have already created paracycle patterns that talk to the rest of the street furniture.
6. Allow multiple points of support and locking
It is important to study the dimensions of the structures taking into account the bicycles in the market, to allow several points of support and locking. Some manuals suggest that locking the bike in two places is ideal. Generally, it is considered that the measures do not move far from the 80 cm of height. The length of the structure varies more, reaching up to 80 cm in some cases.
See, below, some options of paracycles, made available by BKT mobiliario urbano.