The Life-Sized City Blog: Bicycle Parking Survey

This is a cool little voxpop video from Copenhagen X. Outside the Copenhagen Business School they asked a simple question.

How far away from where you're going are you willing to to park your bicycle?

The answers are telling. When the bicycle is such a saturated part of life in a city, you want instant access to it. This is why despite fine cellar parking or bike sheds in courtyards many bikes are just leaned up against buildings.If you can't get out your front door and unlock your bike and mount it in 30-45 seconds, it's an irritation. The bicycle is a tool and if your toolbox is kept down in the cellar or up in the attic or high on a shelf that requires a ladder, it's an irritation when you have to find a screwdriver. The film is in Danish, save one student speaking English, but here's a transcript. Man 01: Maximum 30 metres.Man 02: I'd say quite far... 25-50 metres.Interviewer: That's the maximum?Man 02: Yeah, that's the pain perimeter.Woman 01: 10 metres. I don't know. Maybe longer. But of course you want to park close to where you're going.Man 03 [young]: 200 metres, or else closer. I can just lean it up against a wall.Man 04: There's nothing wrong with 100 metres.Man 05: 300-400 metres. That's a guess.Man 06: [Speaks English] I don't want to block anything so within reasonable limits. 5-10 metres. If there's an assigned parking spot I don't have a problem parking it there and walking... 100 metres.Woman 02: Um... I don't know... 100 metres perhaps?

Woman 03: Honestly, I don't think you can do anything about it. I think we should just let bicycles be bicycles and life be life. They invade everywhere. Unless we spend a whole lot of energy on underground bicycle parking then I don't think you can do anything about it. We've tried for years on this square to stop people from parking here but it's impossible. I park here myself. That's life. It won't be solved.

I suspect that some of the respondees were a little unclear about distance measurement, like the chap who said 300-400 metres. That's a lightyear in this bicycle culture. The most telling, and true to reality, were the answers that were under 50 metres, and especially the 5-10 metres responses.

An interesting little anthropological survey.

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