Bicibox: Solving the bike parking problem

[youtube=] As a commuter cyclist, I'm used to getting questions from people who are interested in the practicality of biking to work or school: What clothes do you wear? How do you carry all of your stuff? How do you keep your bike from getting stolen? This last one is a question that is hard to answer simply, since no lock is 100% theft-proof. Finding decent bike parking can be a problem as well. Depending on your city, it may be hard to find a secure place to park a bike because racks are nonexistent or inconvenient, forcing cyclists to lock to less secure signposts, parking meters, or street trees.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that these problems surrounding bike parking are some of the major reasons that more people don't travel by bike. Even just the fear of theft may deter many people from bike commuting. This makes the lack of secure bike parking in our cities not just an inconvenience, but a serious hindrance to citywide mobility. While some cities have started to install secure bike parking pods at transit stations and other high activity locations, in many areas the current options still leave much to be desired. But some cities, such as Barcelona with its Bicibox project, are working to change that.

Bicibox is a secure, modular bicycle parking system that is designed to offer safe and convenient bike parking options throughout the city. Smaller Bicibox stations provide 7 bicycle storage spots and take up about the same amount of space as a single on-street car parking spot, while larger stations provide 14 spots. The stations are divided into individual parking boxes, each fully covered by secure sliding doors so that bikes are shielded from weather and risk of theft. Each station is also equipped with an energy efficient console and card swipe system to access a bicycle parking space. The creators of Bicibox plan to offer pay-per-use stations in the future, but as of now cyclists may access any Bicibox station by signing up as members on an annual flat rate basis.

What I love most about this solution is that it provides so much more than just safe bicycle parking. Like the latest generation of bike share systems, Bicibox stations are fully networked and provide real-time information on parking space availability to users. Cyclists can use the system's website or the Bicibox mobile app to check for open spots and may search by destination to find the nearest station.  By making bike parking convenient, secure, easy to locate, and abundant, innovations like Bicibox make cycling an option for many people who may have otherwise found it infeasible. Eliminating the parking-related barriers to bicycling can go a long way towards promoting better mobility and access to alternative transportation options in our cities.

~ Allison Bullock