Rack Spacing & Placement

Proper spacing of bike racks is essential to assure the racks can be actually used, safeguard bicycles against damage, ensure free pedestrian flow, and ensure vehicle passengers can exit their vehicles.  In general, the optimum spacing of a rack from anything else is 4 feet, and the minimum is 3 feet, measured from the center of the rack.  A rack should never be closer than 2 feet to a wall or 1.5 feet to a curb edge.

Racks should also be placed near the destinations where people want to go.  Racks should be placed in a visible area within 25 feet of the main entrance of the building, and no farther than 75 feet.

Summary of Minimum Sidewalk Widths

The minimum total sidewalk width permitted to install a bike rack is 8 feet. The following minimum sidewalk widths must be maintained clear of obstructions, as determined by the width of the sidewalk:

Total Sidewalk Width

(measured from property line to curb)

Minimum Width for Placement of Rack from Property Line

(measured from property line to “rack furnishing zone”)

Placement of Rack from Sidewalk Edge

(measured from curb edge to bike rack)

 < 8’  Racks not allowed on sidewalk Racks not allowed on the sidewalk
≥ 8’ and ≤ 10’ 5.5′  ≥ 1.5’ to ≤ 2’
> 10’ and ≤ 15’ 6’ ≥ 2’ to ≤ 3’
≥ 15’ 8’ 3’
Racks may be placed perpendicular to the curb edge.

 Detailed Placement & Clearance Guidelines

  • The rack and its footprint should be located within the “furnishing zone.”
  • Maintain a minimum of 3 feet between rack edge and street furniture such as light poles, mailboxes, trash cans, newspaper boxes, tree wells, sign poles, etc.
  • Maintain a minimum of 4 feet between bicycle rack edge and crosswalks, curb ramps, driveway ramps, transit shelters, loading zones, and fire hydrants..
  • Avoid placing bike racks directly in front of building doors and locations that impede pedestrian flow.
  • Avoid placing bike racks directly in front of disabled parking spaces.

On Sidewalk, Parallel to Curb

  • Minimum sidewalk corridor width is 8 feet.
  • Generally racks should be installed in-line with other furnishings in sidewalk (sign posts, benches, etc). Ideal rack placement is 3 feet from curb; minimum distance 1.5 feet.
  • Recommended distance between multiple racks, end-to-end, is 6 feet (minimum of 5 feet), measured from the ends of the racks.

On Sidewalk, Perpendicular to Curb

  • Minimum sidewalk corridor width is 15 feet.
  • Minimum distance between the center of the rack and the curb edge is 36 inches with a recommended distance of 48 inches.
  • Minimum distance between multiple racks, side-by-side, is 36 inches; recommended distance is 48 inches.

On Sidewalk, Angled Against Curb

  • Minimum sidewalk corridor width is 12 feet.
  • Racks should be placed on a diagonal between 60 and 45 degrees.
  • Due to the angle of the racks and offset of the handlebars, the minimum distance between the center of the rack and the curb edge is reduced by 6 inches to 30 inches with a recommended distance of 48 inches.

On Sidewalk, Against a Wall

  • Minimum distance between the edge of the rack and the wall is 24 inches if perpendicular, and 36 inches if parallel.

On Street Bike Corral

  • Minimum width dedicated to the corral in the roadway is 90 inches (7.5 feet).
  • Racks should be welded onto metal skis, and placed either directly at 90 degrees perpendicular to the curb or up to 45 degrees on diagonal.
  • Minimum distance between the center of the rack and the curb is 36 inches with a recommended distance of 48 inches. The edge of the rack must be at least 24 inches from the curb.
  • The minimum distance between racks is 36 inches; recommended distance is 48 inches.
  • Car parking stops/curbs/bumpers (rubber or concrete) should be installed at the edge of the bike corral, perpendicular to the curb.
  • Plastic posts should be installed at the two corners nearest the roadway.

Example of a single corral with four staple racks in a 20′ no-parking setback at an intersection:

Example of a double corral with eight staple racks in a 30′ no-parking setback at an intersection:

Example of a corral that accommodates cargo bikes and family bikes with six staple racks in a 30′ no-parking setback at an intersection:

City Specifications for Bike Corrals

Click on images for the cities’ PDF of the bike corral specifications.

Seattle Bike Corral

Portland Bike Corral

San Francisco Bike Corral

More Rack Spacing Guidelines