The Province Newspaper: “The Bicycle Valet proving popular because it’s free and secure”

Original article here

housands of bicycles found free, secure parking provided by The Bicycle Valet at Vancouver Live, the city’s 125th anniversary celebration at Stanley Park’s Brockton Point in 2011.

Thousands of bicycles found free, secure parking provided by The Bicycle Valet at Vancouver Live, the city’s 125th anniversary celebration at Stanley Park’s Brockton Point in 2011.

“A program to safely park and store bikes during selected events around the Lower Mainland is proving extremely popular.

The Bicycle Valet, which operates like a coat check but is for bicycles instead of coats, is run by non-profit Better Environmentally Sound Transportation.

It’s expected 30,000 bikes will be parked this year, up from 22,000 in 2014 and the 300 bikes taken care of in 2006 when the program began.

While the program is sponsored by TransLink’s TravelSmart program and the Vancouver International Airport, organizers of events that use bike valet, like this weekend’s Squamish Valley Music Festival, also help out and provide volunteers to back up BEST’s paid staffers.

Use of the valet is free — cyclists drop off their bike and get a ‘check’ that they must return with to reclaim their bike.

Sinead Stinson, who co-ordinates the bike valet program for BEST, said it’s expected 1,000 bikes a day will be parked during the Squamish event.

“We parked our 100,000th bike last year and we’ve never lost one,” said Stinson.

Making the program even more secure is that it also has insurance in case there is a problem.

“It’s eliminating barriers to sustainable transportation,” said Stinson. “We love it and it’s super popular.”

About 1,000 cyclists used the bike valet at last weekend’s Pride Parade, eliminating the need to find a bike rack or pole to which a bike can be locked. The valet service also keeps the space used for parking bikes more compact than if the cycles were parked randomly.

This is the first year for a Granville Island season location which began in July and continues through August, Fridays to Sundays at 1537 Johnston Avenue.

Stinson said police have told BEST the bike valet has almost eliminated the bike theft issue around the popular tourist destination where it is often so hard to find a spot to park anything.

While there is always at least one paid BEST employee to co-ordinate the bike valet at an event, volunteers are also vital. Anyone interested in helping out can go to the website TheBicycleValet.ca or call Stinson at 604-669-2860, ext. 207″

fluba@theprovince.com

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