Back to top

Park your bike

Last updated: 10/30/17

Park your bike

Whenever you secure your bike on a sidewalk, you must leave at least four feet (4') of clearance for pedestrians. Never block access to sidewalks, curb ramps, crosswalks, fire hydrants, bus stops, accessible parking spaces, or loading zones.

It’s best to store your bike in a secure and covered area, like in a garage that’s monitored by security. If that’s not possible, aim for a visible area with a lot of foot traffic.

Remember to take any parts that are easy to remove, such as lights, with you. Someone else may take them if you don’t.

Note: These guidelines only apply to human-powered vehicles (bicycles). Motor vehicles, of any kind, may not be parked on the sidewalk. For more details about parking motor vehicles, including scooters, please refer to the Traffic Rules and Regulations.

Still have questions? Contact:
Boston Bikes
1 City Hall Square, Room 721
Boston, MA 02201
United States

How to lock your bike

USE A U-LOCK

Always use a U-lock as your primary lock. Cable locks can easily be cut, and should only be used as secondary locks to secure wheels.

LOCK THE FRAME FIRST

Always secure your frame. If your bike is only secured by the wheel, a thief can walk away with the frame. Consider locking your wheels with a second cable lock or a second U-lock.

A graphic showing a bike locked to a rack. There is a u-lock around the rear wheel and the frame, and a cable lock connecting the front wheel to the u-lock.

Where to lock your bike

A bike parked to a bike rack.
To a bike rack

Whenever possible, lock your bike to a bike rack. Make sure your bike is parallel to the rack and that it does not prevent people from using the sidewalk. If there’s another bike parked at the rack, make sure not to accidentally lock the other bike with yours!

Bike parked to a parking meter.
To a parking meter

When racks are not available, lock your bike to a parking meter. Make sure your bike is parallel to the pedestrian path of travel, and that it cannot be picked up and removed from the top of the pole. Do not lock your bike to a meter that is next to an accessible parking space or a commercial loading space.

A bike parked to a parking sign post.
To some sign posts

You may lock your bike to a sign post, except for those used to designate accessible parking (HP) spaces, loading zones, or bus stops. Make sure your bike is parallel to the pedestrian path of travel and that it does not prevent people from using the sidewalk.

Where not to lock your bike

A bike locked to a tree
To a tree

Trees are not a secure place to lock your bike. A thief could cut the tree down.

Locking your bike to a tree could mean fewer healthy trees in our City. Bike locks can damage or even kill trees if left in place for too long.

A bike parked to a a hand rail on a ramp.
To handrails

Locking your bike to handrails or a ramp can prevent people, especially those who are using wheelchairs or strollers, from getting past your bike.

Many handrails are also private property.

A bike locked to a fence in front of a house.
To private property

If you lock your bike to private property, you should have permission from the property owner. Otherwise, it is within their rights to remove your bike without notice.

Longer-Term Storage

If you want to store your bike in your home, there are many solutions that will allow you to store your bike in a small space. Your local hardware store will have the necessary hardware. Look online for other bicycle storage solutions.

Check with the property manager at your school, employer, place of worship, or apartment building, to see if there are any spaces that can be turned into bike rooms. Always lock your bike in shared spaces.

Suggest a location

The Boston Transportation Department (BTD) serves bicyclists in the City by installing and repairing roughly 200 bike racks on City sidewalks each year. You can help us locate the best places for these racks by submitting a request through this form.

We will review your requests on a rolling basis. We prioritize racks in commercial corridors and in partnership with civic institutions, such as libraries and community centers.

Suggest a location for a bike rack

Report a broken rack

A bike rack that has snapped at the base.

Report broken bike racks via BOS:311:

  • online by using the general request form
  • over the phone by dialing 3-1-1 from any phone within Boston, or
  • via the mobile app by using the "Other" category found under "General."

If you are reporting the rack online or via the mobile app, please include a picture of the rack that shows what's behind it. This helps us locate the rack that needs to be repaired.