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Capital Metro considering triple bike racks on buses

Posted Jan 24 2011 9:02am

Demo of the proposed triple bike bus rack At the last Thursday’s Bicycle Advisory Council, Capital Metro held a demonstration of a new triple bike rack they are considering for their bus fleet.

The bike-bus combo can be a great solution for a lot of people. Your bike connects you with bus routes that are not in walking distance and provide the “last mile” connection for destinations not immediately on the route. Unfortunately, this options is so popular that it is not uncommon for cyclists to have to wait for several buses at rush hour to find an empty spot on the current double rack which is standard on the Capital Metro fleet. (Note: Small wheel, folding bikes like Bromptons or Dahons, are allowed on the bus if folded down.)

The bikes are staggered to fit 3 bikes in about the same space as the current double rack.

Capital Metro is looking to address this issue with the addition of a triple rack on the front of their buses. The proposed racks stagger the bikes to allow the extra bike in a similar space to the current double rack. At the demonstration, I took a heavy, long wheel base Dutch bike and had no problems getting the bike on and off, even from the inside rack. While I had no problems with my bags fitting, the Capital Metro staff indicated that they would be banning pannier bags and rear baskets from bikes on these racks to ensure there is room for everyone’s bikes. You’d better invest in panniers with a quick release or fold down baskets if you want to make this a regular transportation solution.

The biggest problem with the new triple rack is that it creates a potential safety hazard for those loading and unloading their bikes. For the outer and inner racks, the offset is toward the driver’s side of the bus. This means intuitively the cyclists will go to the drivers side to unload their bike thus stepping out into the next lane of traffic. On 4 lane roads especially, this means stepping out into the lane of a passing car. Not good! I was able to easily unload my bike from these racks on the sidewalk side, so going to the driver’s side is not necessary. Some major user education and possibly signage will be needed.

For comparison, the current double rack standard on the fleet.

Capital Metro currently only has the triple rack on a demonstration single bus which is not in service circulation. The Capital Metro Board will consider whether to adopt these new racks at their February meeting. If adopted, the planned is to have the whole fleet converted to triple racks by 2015.

More info on the Capital Metro Board meeting at their site .

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