Correctly Space Bike Storage Racks

One of the most important pieces of a good bike storage plan is correctly spacing bike storage racks.

First and foremost, you need to make sure racks are placed with enough spacing between each rack.

Second, you need to ensure there is proper room for storing the bicycle and an aisle beyond the rack. Otherwise  the rack could become unusable.  

Let's go over bike storage space recommendations in more detail for the different types of bike storage racks.  

 

Spacing for Ground Bike Racks 

When laying out ground bike racks, start by setting the leg of the bike rack back from the wall a recommended 36 inches or minimally, 24 inches.

This provides enough room beyond the bike rack, for the frame of the bicycle to rest against the bike rack. 

There should also be a recommended 36 inches or minimally 24 inches of clearance on the side of the bike rack. 

Any less and there will not be enough space to park a bicycle on that side of the rack. This would reduce the number of spots to store bicycles.  

Racks should then be 48 inches recommended, 36 inches minimum, from one another. This is enough room for bicycles to maneuver into the bike parking spot, while also allowing a user to lock/unlock their bicycle from the side.  

There also needs to be a minimum of 48 inches, 60 inches recommended, of aisle space beyond the tire of a parked bicycle. This would be measured to the tire of another bicycle or a wall, depending on your layout.  

Spacings for Ground Bike Storage Racks

Spacing Recommendations

  • Space for the bicycle: 72" for a standard bicycle
  • Distance between racks: 48" recommended | 36" minimum
  • Setbacks from walls/obstruction
    • Oriented perpendicular to wall
      • 36" minimum to nearest post
      • 48" minimum to center of rack
    • Oriented parallel to wall
      • 36" recommended | 24" minimum
  • Aisles: 60" recommended | 48" minimum

 

One option that can make spacing bike racks easier is to get bike racks on rails. Reason being, the spacing between each rack will already be set.

In high-density applications, this could be a potential cost savings because it would eliminate labor hours needed to measure spaces between and mount individual bike racks.  

Then, all you would need to know is setback from walls and distances for aisles. Which you can usually find in a manufacturer's installation instructions.  

 

Vertical Bike Rack Spacing 

Vertical bike rack dimensions can be determined by placing the rack at a height on the wall where the rear tire would sit 8 inches off the ground, when the bicycle is seated in the rack.  

The center of the rack should also be placed, generally, 15 inches away from a perpendicular wall, to provide enough room for a standard handlebar.  

Place the next rack 15 inches horizontally from your first rack and raise it up 10 inches.  

Continue placing bike racks every 15 inches, alternating the heights of each rack, along the length of your wall.

Vertical Bike Rack Spacing Dimensions  

It's important that the height of each rack is staggered. If the vertical bike racks are mounted at the same height, they will need to be spaced at least 24 inches apart.

Otherwise the handlebars of the bicycles will overlap and be in conflict. Ultimately, making every other spot unusable.  

For strut-mounted bike racks, follow the manufacturer's instructions. This will direct you as to the height the channels will need to be mounted to the walls.

Once the racks are adhered to the channels, they will hold the bicycle at the correct height. 

With freestanding bike racks, simply assemble per the manufacturer's installation directions and the racks will be set at the designed height.   

 

Aisle Space  

After you have properly spaced your vertical bike racks, you will now need to account for an aisle behind the stored bicycle.  

A standardfull-sized bicycle from tire to seat is about 48 inches. You will then need a recommended 48 inches of aisle space beyond this that needs to remain clear.

Vertical Bike Racks Aisle Space Dimensions

This aisle offers enough room to raise/lower bicycles onto the rack and maneuver them in and out of the bike storage area.  

In total, 96 inches from the wall is needed to effectively use a vertical bike rack.  

 

Vertical Bike Rack Dimensions

  • Space for bicycle: 96" total floor space, recommended (48" bike storage space | 48" aisle space)
  • Horizontal Spacing Between Staggered rack: 16" Recommended | 14" minimum
  • Vertical Spacing Between Staggered Racks: Typically, between 8"-12"
  • Vertical Clearance - Varies depending on rack used. Can be determined by finding the sum of three dimensions
    • Ground clearance (Typically 8" minimum)
    • Bicycle length (72" minimum)
    • Lifting clearance (Depth of hook that supports bicycle) 

Spacing for Two-tier Bike Racks 

When it comes to two-tier bike racks, these typically come as complete units, so you won't have to worry about horizontal or vertical spacing.

The unit will usually then need to be placed with 10 to 15 inches of clearance on the side from a wall, door, or other obstruction, to allow room for handlebars of stored bicycles.  

You will then need to factor for aisle space beyond the rack 

This again, should be at least 48 inches. Add this to the length of your two-tier bike rack. This measurement will be the total distance needed in your bike storage area to use the bike rack.  

You will also, generally, need 9 feet of clearance measured from the ground to the ceiling or other overhead obstruction, like a ceiling fan or lights, to store bicycles with these racks.  

Two Tier bike Rack Spacing

 

Spacing for Bike Lockers 

By design, bike lockers are relatively modular and are meant to be banked next to each other.

The one spacing item to be aware of is the aisle. Which is measured from the open door and not the end of the unit.  

Depending on the size of bike locker, the door can range from about 30 to 40 inches. Along with a 48 inch aisle, you would need a distance of 78 – 88 inches between the locker unit and a wall or the open door of another locker. 

Bike Locker Spacing

When placing and spacing bike racks in your area, keep in mind the measurements here are recommendations meant to provide general guidance for your layout.

They could change depending on the specific bike rack you use or your building codes. Make sure to use the manufacturer installation instructions and local ordinances for specific spacing information.  

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