Bike Parking

It is a familiar sight to see people of all ages riding bikes in Missoula. Biking is good for the environment, personal health, and perhaps most importantly, your wallet. Missoulians are riding bikes for pleasure, and also for transportation. That is why we need adequate parking for these two-wheeled vehicles at all destinations. These facilities must be convenient, accommodating, and secure. Bike parking regulations can be found in Chapter 20.60.090 of the city code, but these zoning requirements are just minimums. In some locations, businesses or apartment building managers may want to provide more than the minimum. We have compiled the information below to explain the various types of bike parking and how developers, property managers, and business owners can provide bike parking that meets City standards and makes employees and tenants happy.

Providing bicycle parking is one of the easiest and best ways to encourage more people to ride bikes for transportation. Please contact the Bicycle/Pedestrian Program Manager if you have any questions about how you and your organization can benefit the most from adding or improving bike parking.

Short Term and Long Term

Short term bike parking provides a secure facility which supports the bicycle by its frame, in a location that is convenient for people visiting your apartment or place of business.

Long term bike parking provides a place that is reasonably free from vulnerability to both weather and theft of any part of the bicycle. Users of long term bike parking typically park for periods of 8 hours or more and on a regular basis. This applies particularly to employees while at work and for residents of multi-family dwellings.

Your bicycle parking should provide for both long and short term users in the amounts specified in Title 20 of the Missoula Municipal Code, which are as follows:

  • Commercial and civic uses shall provide short term bike parking spaces at a rate of 10% of the number of required off-street automobile parking spaces, with a minimum of 2 bicycle parking spaces. This includes the Central Business District where automobile parking is not required.
  • Commercial and civic uses shall provide long term bike parking spaces at a rate of 20% of the number of employees at peak shift, with a minimum of 1 bicycle parking space.
  • Multi-family dwellings shall provide short term bike parking at a rate of 1 space for every 4 dwellings, with a minimum of 2 spaces, and long term bike parking at a rate of 1 space for every dwelling unit.



All bike racks should be made with 1 ¼" schedule 40 galvanized pipe. The standard rack is 34" tall and 48" long. Here are the specifications for the standard racks (PDF) we install around town. Powder coating is an option instead of galvanization. Please contact the bicycle/pedestrian office if you are thinking about diverting in any way from the standard.

All short term bike racks must:

  • Be securely anchored to a flat and level concrete base,
  • Be designed so that the front wheel and bicycle frame, secured to the rack with a standard U-lock, will be held upright. A horizontal bar or closed ring may achieve this.
  • Allow the option of using all kinds of locking devices,
  • Be easy to understand without instruction, and
  • Not damage or appear to damage the bike.

Over the last 35 years, we have learned that there are some racks that might be widely manufactured and installed, but do not meet these criteria. The "fender breaker" or "comb" rack commonly found at elementary schools is one example that does not meet these criteria. Another is the "wave" rack, since it is very easy for bikes to slide down the vertical portion and become closer to flat on the ground than standing upright.

All bike racks shall be installed on a concrete surface using at least four 3/8" x 3" "RAWL BOLT" type concrete anchors per bike rack. After installing the RAWL anchors, an area around the anchors shall be coated with cold galvanizing. Alternatively, the rack legs may be set in concrete eighteen inches deep by one foot wide.


Bike racks are only useful if they are conveniently located. Please keep the following criteria in mind when choosing a place for bicycle parking:

  • Consider the convenience of your customers, employees, and residents. People on bikes are the same as people who get around any other way – they want to be close to the front door.
  • If the building has multiple entrances that see much traffic, place bike racks by each door.
  • Ideally, bike parking should be covered. This can be easily achieved by installing a bicycle rack under existing awnings or overhangs. Let your building's design work for you.
  • Choose a location that is secure. Whether it is long term of short term parking, it's important to put the bike rack in a well-populated and well-lit area. This will detract thieves.
  • Make sure the bike rack does not interfere with vehicle and pedestrian traffic and does not block handicapped access areas.
  • When located in the public right-of-way, such as on a sidewalk, bike racks should be located near the curb with other sidewalk furnishings like street trees, far enough from the curb so that parking motor vehicles will not hit the bicycle with their bumper.
  • When located as part of a motor vehicle parking lot or an on street bike corral, bicycle parking should be separated from motor vehicle parking by a curb, post, bollard, or other physical barrier so as to prevent motor vehicles from contacting parked bicycles.


A parked bicycle occupies a space of 24" x 60". Rack design and location must accommodate this space and allow the a person to park her bike without moving another bike.

  • Short term racks should be no closer to a wall than 18".
  • Racks should be at least 12" from a curb where parallel parking is permitted and at least 24" from a curb where diagonal or no parking is permitted.
  • Racks should be no closer than 36" to each other.
  • There should be at least 5' of maneuvering room at one end of the rack.



There are several ways to provide space for long term bicycle parking that meet the criteria and intent of the requirements.

  • A bicycle locker provides a high degree of security, preventing theft and casual vandalism. A lockers typically stores a single bike and can often be bundled to accommodate more bikes.
  • Storage sheds that meet the dimension requirements and have safe places to lock the bike inside can be considered long term bike parking.
  • Covered areas with walls that block the prevailing weather side can be considered long term bike parking.
  • Space can be designated within buildings as long term bicycle storage, as long as it meets the other dimension requirements.


Long term bike parking must be located within the same distance to the building as is employee or resident motor vehicle parking. If long term bike parking is to be located inside a building, it should be easily accessible to the intended users. Don't make people carry bikes up or down stairs, or navigate winding hallways. Even if the parking space is indoors, it should be possible to lock an individual bike to an attached object.


Long term bike parking spaces can be located close together if they are within individual bicycle lockers. If they are located within a building, long term bike parking spaces should be situated as far apart as or farther than short term bike parking spaces. This is because the constraints of being inside can often make it difficult to maneuver the bicycle in and out of the parking space.