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What A Growing Trend Of Bicycle Commuting Could Mean For Parking Managers

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The Implications of Growing Bicycle Commuting for Parking Managers

Bike commuting has been a growing trend in the United States for well over two decades, but the disruption brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has kicked it into a full-on trend. Since 2000, the number of regular bike commuters in the US has grown by over 60%. The pandemic’s effect on in-person office buildings has skewed the data for 2020, but other studies conducted on biking reveal that 4% of the US population aged 18 or older rode a bike for the first time (or at least the first time in over a year) during the pandemic. That means over 100 million new cyclists on the streets and bike paths of America in just one year, and it’s a safe bet that some of that number will carry over into cyclist commuters.

Exploring Opportunities with Hybrid Bike Commuters for Parking Managers

For parking managers, bicycle commuters provide an interesting target market. The whole goal of bike commuting is to avoid using a vehicle, after all, many offices already have bike racks ready and waiting just outside their doors. But there’s an entire subsection of bike commuters for whom parking garages could play a vital role – they’re called hybrid bike commuters, and they use a mix of bicycles, personal vehicles, public transit, and ridesharing in order to get where they need to go.

Accommodating Hybrid Bike Commuters

Do your parking facilities have the means to accommodate such hybrid bike commuters? Some hybrid commuters prefer to drive or take public transit as close to their offices as possible, then use a bike to finish the commute. Others do the reverse, riding their bikes from their homes to the nearest commuter hub. In either case, it means they’re looking for safe places to leave their bikes for long periods of time. Is there a safe space for bikes to be left during the day, or overnight? If so, how well do you advertise it? Providing a secure area for bikes is a selling feature, and as word gets out you may even find cyclists are willing to pay for that extra security rather than leave their valuable bicycles unattended at a standard bike rack or locked to a street sign.

Considering E-bike Amenities

There’s another subset of cyclists you should also consider – e-bike riders. E-bikes use electric motors to make riding even easier, which makes them capable of longer commuting distances than traditional bicycles. But e-bikes have two qualities that you can leverage – they’re expensive, meaning their security is an important concern, and they need to be recharged in between uses. While some e-bikes have removable batteries, others need to be plugged in the old-fashioned way. Add a secure e-bike charging station to your garage, and see what happens.

Capitalizing on the Potential of Cyclists for Parking Managers

Cyclists are an attractive potential market for parking managers for another reason as well – space. The amount of physical parking space a bike needs is far less than a car, especially as SUVs and trucks in the US seem to be bigger every year. Bike storage also allows you to make use of corner areas and other spaces in your garage that would otherwise be unoccupied, increasing your overall potential for profit.

While America may never fully embrace bicycle commuting the way much of the world has, the likelihood that environmental concerns, an ongoing shift towards remote-optional commuting, and other factors mean that bikes will continue to be an important part of the daily commuting routine. Savvy parking managers will find a way to capitalize on it.

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