Fido Foto Friday – The Dual Purpose Bike Racks

Editor’s note: After all the fanfare from the latest bike corral installation, Robert Leone sends in this writeup to warn of the downside that comes from having dedicated bike parking racks – the interlopers that are dog owners. But with some creative thinking, Leone suspects the dog owners could become allies of the two-wheeled crowd.


Fur bearing security system. Photo: Robert Leone

In the long struggle for bicycle facilities, an often forgotten element is bike parking. As much as half the paved area of a given public road is devoted to cars that aren’t even running. Massive investments in striping, lanes, and space that landlords can’t rent are required for commercial and residential developments. Meanwhile, little attention is paid to bike parking. Regular readers of will know local cycling advocates, and San Diego City Council Members, throw press conferences when an on street bike corral that can hold about a dozen bikes, or about as many cars as the rest of that side of that street on that block, is installed.

With some creativity, San Diego County’s riding community could gain new and powerful allies in militating for bike parking — those who walk their dogs.

San Diegans’ love for their canine pets, domestic animals, fur children, what have you, is demonstrated by the recent burgeoning of off-leash dog play areas seen in almost every new and redeveloped San Diego City Park. These animal recreational facility advocates have a reputation for single-minded focus and persistence that is the envy of Race Across America riders. However, our region’s retail merchants (and their landlords) seem far behind the curve when it comes to dog parking. The parallels with bicycle parking are obvious.

White dog parked at bike rack. Photo by Robert Leone

Of course, some observant merchants have been forward thinking by supplying tie downs, snap hooks, cleats, water bowls and other accommodations for the four-footed companions of the folks with the wallets. A few local entrepreneurs have gone into business supplying hooks for leash holding.

Locally made dog leash hook. Photo Robert Leone.

However, the selling point for bike racks in the shopping centers should be their dual purpose. Take it from someone who’s had to chase after a loose terrier mix running lose in the street a couple months back: Routine and secure bicycle parking is routine and secure dog parking.

If you don’t have good bike parking, you get this situation instead, where the bike is loosely locked to any old inconvenient railing with little furry security systems ready to tear out an innocent photographer’s throat.

Waiting for someone to get groceries. Photo: Robert Leone

The dual purpose, even if unintended, of bicycle parking can gain facilities advocates some surprising, and surprisingly powerful allies.