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Bicycle Parking Dos and Don'ts

Generally speaking, bicycle thieves are opportunists, looking for the easiest bicycles to steal. Although there are no guarantees of safety when parking your bicycle, you can take steps that will make it less likely that a thief will select your bicycle, and which also help bicyclists "share the road" with pedestrians. Do:

  • Park in well lit open areas where many people pass by, where your bicycle can be seen easily and where you can get to your bike quickly.
  • Lock to a bike rack (if available), and park so that your bike doesn't block the sidewalk or curb ramps.
  • Use a strong lock. U-locks are popular and work well, but some U-locks are stronger than others; make sure you buy a strong steel-alloy lock, and one without a cylindrical barrel.
  • If you use a U-lock ...
    • And it has a keyway on the end of the crossbar, position the lock with its keyway towards the ground. This makes it harder for a thief to access the lock.
    • Position the bicycle frame and wheels so that as much open space as possible within the U-portion of the lock is filled or taken up. This makes it more difficult for a thief to use tools to attack the lock.
  • If you use a padlock or chain: links, cables, and lock clasps should be at least 3/8 of an inch thick and case-hardened.
  • Use an additional lock or cable to secure wheels or other valuable parts such as seats.
  • Consider locking skewers to secure wheels.
  • Remove lights, pump, bags or other valuables from your bike.


  • Don't park so your bicycle blocks a curb ramp.
  • Don't park so your bicycle blocks the sidewalk. (In most cases, this means parking parallel to the curb.)
  • Don't park to a tree. Not only is it insecure, it's also bad for the tree!
  • Don't secure only the wheel (unless that's the part you want to keep!).
  • Don't leave your bike locked in one spot for several days.
  • Don't leave your bike unlocked "just for a minute" while you run into a shop. It takes less than a minute to steal it.
  • If a rack is available, please use it instead of a parking meter. Bikes parked at meters can pose problems for those with disabilities (and others) trying to exit or enter parked vehicles. Bikes at meters also pose problems for City maintenance crews. If a meter is the only option at a location you frequent, please contact the Bicycle & Pedestrian Facilities Coordinator at (510) 238-3983 or bikeped@oaklandca.gov or use our Online Request Form to request a rack.

Posted: September 9th, 2018 1:02 PM

Last Updated: August 18th, 2023 12:21 PM

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