Bike Parking in The Right of Way

The City regulates the type and position of bike racks on public property to ensure the highest usability and safety. See complete bike parking rules and regulations here.

  • To encourage the use of bicycles for personal transportation as an alternative to motor vehicles.
  • To provide for bicycle access to employment, commercial, and other transportation and travel destinations.
Per the 1993 Denver Bicycle Master Plan, the "Inverted U" type bike rack is the required bicycle parking rack. Any other type proposed rack would be subject to approval by the Transportation Office.
  The Denver standard inverted U type bike rack supports the bike frame at two locations and allows users to secure their bikes with either a cable or U type lock.
Detail of baseplate - note the vandal resistant fasteners used to anchor the rack
Detail of the vandal resistant fastener - Rawlplug #5550
The Inverted U’s shall be fabricated from 1 ½” Schedule 40 Pipe, in accordance with ASTM F 1083, 48.26 mm O.D. x 3.683 mm wall (1.90” x 0.145” wall). The U’s shall measure 914.4 mm high x 457.2 mm wide (36” high, 18” wide). The bicycle racks shall not be welded in sections. Only the base plate shall be welded to the steel pipe with two (2) 3mm (1/8”) vent holes - one on the inside of each upright where the pipe is welded to the baseplate. 

After fabrication, the rack shall be coated with a Thermoplastic (polyethylene copolymer based) powder coating (polyarmor) to a thickness 200-250 
micrometers (8 - 12 mils). Racks installed Downtown must be “Federal Green”- Color #14056 as specified in the Federal Paint Specifications 595B. 

Racks shall be mounted to concrete via 190 mm (7 ½”) diameter baseplates 10mm (3/8”) thick steel in accordance with ASTM A 36, with three 11 mm diameter (7/16”) mounting holes on each base plate, spaced equidistant between the upright pipe and edge of the baseplate. Expansion anchor to be carbon steel mushroom head, 10 mm x 76 mm (3/8” x 3”) “spike” #5550 as manufactured by Rawl or approved equal manufactured in the U.S. made from grade 8.2 materials exhibiting equivalent theft-proof performance. Racks shall be set firm and aligned with a tolerance of plus or minus ¼” from plumb. Where required, steel tapered shims shall be installed prior to anchoring in place. Any departure of base plate from grade by more than 3/8” shall require the separation to be filled with high-strength epoxy non-shrinking grout and made level.
Inverted U bike racks shall consist of two to five inverted U's as specified above, mounted 30" on-center via baseplate rails. Racks shall be mounted to concrete via baseplate rails 12.7 mm x 76.2 mm (1/2" x 3") steel in accordance with ASTM A 36 to create a free-standing array.
Only the base rails shall be welded to the steel pipe. The baserails shall have 11 mm diameter (7/16") mounting holes located as shown on the city bicycle rack details (mounted via the same expansion anchors as described above.)
Racks should either be installed in the public Right-Of-Way, or on private sites in conformance with front setback requirements. Whenever possible, the racks should be placed within 50' of building entrances where bicyclists would naturally transition to pedestrian mode. The rack placement would ideally allow for visual monitoring by people within the building and/or people entering the building. The placement of the racks should minimize conflicts with both pedestrians and motorized traffic. All bicycle parking provided should be on concrete, and located a minimum of 24" from a parallel wall, and 30" from a perpendicular wall (as measured to the closest inverted U.)

The Denver standard inverted U type bike rack solves contemporary bicycle parking" Installing inverted U type racks 30" on center allows for all bicyclists to use them, including parents carrying their children in child seats."
As stated above, the Inverted U is the required rack for all applications. At the discretion of the City Transportation Office, other bicycle security devices may be approved for use in unusual circumstances.

Examples of Acceptable Alternative Bicycle Parking Racks

Any such alternate security device submitted for approval must provide for:
  • Supporting the bike frame at two locations (not just a wheel)
  • Allowing both the frame and at least one wheel to be locked to the rack (without requiring that the lock be placed near the bicycle chain)
  • Allowing the use of either a cable or "U-type" lock
  • Bicycles which are equipped with water bottle cages
  • Bicycles which are not equipped with kickstands
  • All types and sizes of bicycles, including various types and sizes of frames, wheel sizes, and tire widths.
Wave type racks are commonly used "broadside" because they offer so little stability to a parked bike. The City of Denver specifies inverted U type bike racks.
Wave type bike racks commonly have the uprights spaced too closely to provide the capacity stated by the manufacturer. Denver specifications require that inverted U type racks be used no closer than 30" on center.
These racks can be produced by local fabricators, or supplied by vendors listed in the Metro-Denver telephone directory yellow pages: see "Bicycle Racks and Security Systems".
Bicycle parking lockers are specifically encouraged for assigned use by employees and bicycle commuters. Bicycle parking capacity provided via lockers will be considered as being in compliance with these rules. Lockers are to be placed in accordance with site 
setback requirements.
For additional information on all bicycle parking topics, including bicycle parking lockers, contact the Department of Public Works at

More Information

If a property owner wants to install a bike rack on his/her existing property, he/she is able to do so at their discretion. However, the City would encourage property owners to select a rack of functional design and place it in a location visible to the entrance. 

Any new development must comply with the bicycle parking regulations in the new zoning code (see Article 10).

1) Contact Right of Way Inspection at 303-446-3469 to schedule for a meeting with your district inspector. The district inspector will inspect the location for the proposed bike rack.

2) If approved by the inspector, you need to submit a Street Occupancy Permit Application, with a traffic control plan and site plan.

3) Once the permit is obtained, you may install the bike rack. See full requirements here

In 2014, Denver Public Works is undertaking an effort to streamline and encourage bicycle parking across the City. The goal of this project is to craft a series of documents that can be used by City staff and the public to implement bike parking. The work involved in this effort include: the development of new collateral materials to improve the process for businesses applying for bike racks; an assessment of bike parking demand across the City to assist Public Works in evaluating and meeting the greatest need; and an inventory of existing bike racks in the City limits. This project will conclude in late 2014/early 2015.

RTD's bike-n-Ride program combines bikes with transit, making it easy to get around with your bike. It's a healthy, economical and environmentally friendly way to commute to work, school or recreational activities. The bike-n-Ride program gives you information on bike lockers and transporting your bike on the light rail or RTD bus system.

For more information, see

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