August 17, 2022
Active Travel
Cycle Storage Guides

What Are UK Public Cycle Parking Standards?

By Jonathan Oldaker

Last year, the Bicycle Association released their new UK Public Cycle Parking Standard. Released in conjunction with the Cycle Rail Working Group, the standard sets out quality requirements for bike parking storage facilities in public areas.

Standards are important for ensuring product quality, and this document is a welcome addition to improving cycle parking in the UK. Peter Eland, from the Bicycle Association, told us the importance of ensuring all new facilities meet better requirements in helping continually grow cycling.

Our quick guide gives an overview of the key principles involved and how to meet the absolute requirements and follow the guidance.

Note that ‘public’ cycle parking includes hospitals, education facilities, rail stations, and generally any building or facility used for high traffic areas and interchanges. Making it an integral part of cycling infrastructure in this country.

While this guide is a handy overview that surveys some of the most important information, we would always recommend checking the document itself for any specific clauses, or getting in touch with our team to assist further with your project.


Guiding Principles For Cycle Parking Standards

Put simply, the goal of the UK Public Cycle Parking Standards is to help the buyer, planner, or facilities manager purchase and install cycle parking that is:

  • Easy to use (including consideration of disabled people and inclusion generally)
  • Safe (for user and their cycle)
  • Secure (enables secure locking)
  • Long lasting (corrosion resistant etc)
  • Fully in compliance with UK legal requirements

This is because these are all measures which aim to facilitate cycle parking that can lead to continual growth in cycling – by granting anyone regardless of disability the confidence to park their bicycle in any public location.

Only with the correct quality of facilities can we help prevent instances of theft, protect bicycles from any damage from racks and stands, combined with ensuring the experience is user-friendly and welcoming.

UK Public Cycle Parking Minimum Requirements

‘Guidance’, ‘Absolute Requirements’, and ‘Context Specific Requirements’ are used as an order of priority in the standards document. To pass the standard, you must follow all qualitative Guidance, match or surpass the Absolute Requirements, and meet context and location specific requirements.

Let’s run through a quick overview of the key Absolute Requirements first, which are all detailed further in subsequent sections. To pass UK Public Cycle Parking Standards, you will need to:

  • Have correct consultation with affected parties
  • Include a portion of accessible cycle parking at every site
  • Include step free access to facilities
  • Use a minimum aisle widths for main access routes of:
    • 3000mm on shared pedestrian and cycle ways, where cycles are ridden directly to the stand.
    • 2500mm between two rows of Sheffield stands
    • 2500mm between two-tier cycle racks where the stands are at 90 degrees to the aisle (i.e. 2.0m clear space in front of stands)
    • 2000mm clear space in front of Sheffield stands or the lowered tray of two-tier stands where the cycle parking is arranged at 45 degrees to the aisle.
  • Have correct spacing for Sheffield stands:
    • 1000mm between stands
    • 600mm to walls or kerbs
    • 900mm where the stand is parallel to wall or kerb
  • Ensure minimum ceiling heights of:
    • 2700mm to accommodate a cycle in upper tier of two-tier rack
  • Always use two-tier bike racks that are gas-assisted, with the ability to lock both wheels and frame securely
  • Clean all facilities regularly


Design principles and accessible cycle parking

A major principle of the standards is ensuring the design process for cycle parking considers larger and adaptive cycles, not just standard cycles. This includes a range of cycles – cargo bikes, tandems, tricycles, and non-standard bicycles designed for disabled users.

To correctly meet the needs of all cycles, the standard sets out that access must be step-free, and parking must not obstruct the pavement or walkway. And while it is crucial that stands are correctly spaced, the facility as a whole must also be well-located and easily accessible.

Tapping rails are recommended due to reflective stickers aiding the visually impaired while also helping to support the frame of larger cycles.

Not every rack or stand is expected to be fully accessible, but a portion of the facility should be designated for accessible parking:

3.1.3 It is not expected that every piece of cycle parking equipment will be accessible to all forms of cycle, but designers must integrate some provision for larger cycles into the cycle parking offer (i.e. not just bicycles)

Location and situation

Facilities should be as close to the destination as possible. That, at least, is the overriding philosophy.

This is where the Context Specific Requirements are most relevant, as each location for cycle parking will have its own circumstances.

The standards say that, unless local circumstances can be proven to prevent it, that cycle parking facilities should be:

  • Within 15 metres for short-stay parking serving a single destination
  • Within 25 metres for short-stay parking serving multiple sites
  • Within 50 metres for longer-stay parking, and,
  • In convenient locations for entrances to and exits from the destination

All locations must also be well-lit to the equivalent BS 5489-1:2020 or brighter to help prevent theft and improve usability in the dark.


Site layouts

This section includes guidance and requirements on both aisle widths and loading distances, as well as considering manoeuvrability of non-standard cycles.

In summary, the guidance lays out that:

  • The cycle parking facility should be laid out for easy manoeuvrability of different bike shapes and sizes – including mountain bikes, cargo bikes, and non-standard cycles
  • Sloping and ceiling heights should always be considering when using two-tier racks
  • All cycle parking should be well signed, both within buildings and from local routes

Context specific requirements dictate that:

  • Cycle parking sites should be easy to find, with clear signage
  • Colour coding of spaces within larger facilities should be included to help locate parked bicycles

The minimum spacing and loading distances for cycle parking racks and stands is:

  • 3000mm width for two way cycle track access
  • 2000mm minimum aisle width for access on foot
  • 2500mm aisle width for two-tier racks perpendicular to the aisle
  • 1000mm between Sheffield stands
  • 600mm from end of a Sheffield stand to any wall
  • 750mm by 2000mm footprint for horizontal cycle lockers
  • 2700mm ceiling height for two-tier racks

The standard bicycle envelope for two-wheeled cycles this is based on is a 700mm handlebar width, 1200mm height and 1800mm width.

Bike Rack And Stand Design

Choosing bike racks and stands for public parking should focus primarily on usability and security according to the standards.

The guidance sets out that not all racks acceptable in the Netherlands and Denmark will necessarily work in the UK. This is because many Dutch bikes have locking mechanisms within the bike to lock the rear wheel, and tend not to feature many quick-release components.

In the UK, “acceptable designs for open access cycle parking are Sheffield stands and two-tier racks which enable both the wheels and the frame of a cycle to be locked.”

All equipment must also be easy-to-use without the need for substantial lifting.

The absolute minimum requirement is for cycle parking to offer the opportunity for three point locking for wheels and frame, and capable of passing Secured by Design Level 2 testing, or Level 1 when facilities are in a secured area.

It is also essential that some space must be allocated for non standard cycles.

Finally, guidance suggests including information for the public on correct use of locks and lock quality. The majority of theft instances come not from tampering with the rack or stand, but the weakness of locks.

More generally, choosing materials, shelters, and fixings will all contribute to the aesthetics and longevity of cycle parking. Beyond the vital importance of security, there are benefits to creating a welcoming and easy to use facility to the growth of cycling.


Cycle Parking Capacity Requirements

Capacity requirements, like location guidance above, will vary depending on the type of building or service the cycle parking caters for, or the local guidelines for the number of cycle parking spaces required.

Therefore, the standards document sets out that the minimum number of spaces should be dictated by guidance in the LTN 1-20.

Quantities provided should follow current peak demand, while allowing for a surplus to accommodate future growth. To predict growth, patterns of demand should be followed, with consideration of local factors such as new bike lanes and cycle infrastructure.



Meeting the minimum requirements for UK Public Cycle Parking Standards involves correct consultation with affected parties, consideration of UK bike sizes and accessibility, following design guidance, and correctly meeting local capacity requirements.

The standards document has a distinct and important focus on accessible cycle parking design. This in turn helps accommodate future growth in cargo bikes and larger e-bikes, too.

Keeping designs well-located, secure, and aesthetically pleasing can facilitate a growth in cycling by making cycle parking welcoming and simple to use for all.

Get in touch with us if you would like more detailed guidance on following UK Public Cycle Parking Standards.

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