Bakersfield bikers should soon see more bike racks with an emphasis on security

New guidelines require more bike racks

BAKERSFIELD -  

As a bicycle mechanic, Nick Medina knows about biking in Bakersfield.

 

"Improvements could be made, but overall it is becoming a bike friendly city," Medina said.

 

He performs bike tune-ups and repairs at Snider's Cyclery. Customers tell Medina all the time about having their bike stolen - because there wasn't a bike rack around or the rack wasn't secure enough. 

 

"It is an easy thing to steal if it isn't locked up," Medina said. "You're stealing transportation, so you can get away pretty quickly."

 

It happened to him in a matter of seconds when he stopped to pay a bill one day. 

 

"They (the store) wouldn't let me take the bike inside and there was no where to lock it up," Medina said. "So I went in there. I was only in there for like two-minutes and I went outside and it was gone."

 

But the City of Bakersfield has new guidelines in place that will bring more bike racks and ones designed with security in mind - unlike older designs - allowing bikers to lock in their wheels and frame at the same time.

 

Some of the changes are a result of Bakersfield City Councilman Bob Smith's work. Smith is an avid biker himself and uses his bike to commute around town.

 

"So there is guidelines - you have to have two points of contact so you can essentially lean your bicycle up against it, and lock it up, and it is secure bicycle parking," Smith said. 

 

The guidelines visualize several styles of racks that are now considered "not acceptable" to be installed, while referencing several "acceptable" racks. There are also additional requirements for a rack to be suitable, such as how it is anchored to the ground, while also being resistant to rusting, bending or deformation.

 

Old bike racks will be grandfathered in, so previously installed racks won't be replaced, Smith said. 

 

Beginning in 2011, new buildings were required to feature bike racks if members of the public were expected to visit that building.

 

Beginning this July 1, that code - which is on the state level - will expand to cover buildings that are making additions or alterations that meet a certain square footage or dollar amount. 

 

Make an addition or change of 2,000 square feet and up, costing more than $500,000 and the code will come into play. After Jan. 1, 2014, the code will cover changes and additions of 1,000 square feet and up with a cost of more than $200,000. 

 

Bike Bakersfield's staff approves of having more secure style racks in Bakersfield, and also the idea of having more racks in general around the city in the near future. 

 

"It deters theft and it also stops people from pulling the frame and the wheel apart and taking one or the other," Jason Cater said, programs director with Bike Bakersfield. 

 

Cater said more racks are better for the city and businesses. He finds that there aren't enough racks in Bakersfield, or in a pinch places that will let you bring your bike inside. 

 

"Some places say no - they won't let me bring it in," Cater said. "They don't have a rack for me and they won't let me bring the bike in so I can't end up going there for business. So more racks would be better for business owners."

 

Smith said he next wants to add more bike lanes around town. He sees more bike lanes next to certain roads as they are re-paved or expanded, while also creating bike paths along canals throughout the city.

 

"There really isn't a lot of space for bikes," Cater said. "They have a 5-foot bike lanes and 12-foot traffic lanes, so cars are going 55, 60 and people don't want to get on a bike next to that." 

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