The City of Portland just raised their game when it comes to providing people with a secure place to park a bicycle.
As we reported just over one year ago, the Bureau of Transportation updated their standard design for city-issued staple racks. Now that the existing stock of old ones has been used up, this week marked the first time one of the new racks went in. We heard the first one to be bolted onto the sidewalk was in north Portland (corner of N Bryant and Interstate) so we rolled over to check it out this morning.
To the untrained eye (and to people without x-ray vision), it doesn’t look like much. But under the hood of this unassuming curved piece of blue steel are some serious bike theft prevention measures.
The differences between the new racks and the old ones include: a flat, steel crossbar; a braided wire cable that floats inside the main pipe; and a requirement to have deeper concrete foundations for the bolts and feet of the rack. (View the official design drawings here.) The crossbar will make it harder for thieves to slip a lock off the rack (something that can be done if the legs are unscrewed or the main pipe is cut) and the internal cable will make it much harder to saw through the main pipe.
“It will take much more effort, forethought, strength, and tool power to defeat this new design,” PBOT Communications Director John Brady told us last year.
According to PBOT’s bike parking manager Scott Cohen, Portland currently has about 7,000 blue staple racks installed on sidewalks and in bike corrals throughout the city. They add and replace them to the tune of about 300 to 400 per year; so it will take several years before the entire stock is updated to this new version.
And it should go without saying, that you shouldn’t rely on anything — or anyone — to make your bike secure. You must have good locking practices, use a high-quality lock, and most importantly, make sure your bike is registered. Learn about all this stuff and more at PBOT’s EndBikeTheft.org website.