The Bikes in Buildings Program has provided indoor parking to over 13,000 bicycles in almost 400 commercial office buildings in New York City.
The program is based on the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law, which requires commercial office buildings to allow cyclists to bring bicycles into their offices by elevator, upon request.
The law and rules governing Bicycle Access in Office Buildings were revised in 2016. These changes provide for greater access to commuting by bicycle by allowing the use of passenger elevators when freight elevators are not available, streamlining the application process and expanding the conditions under which Bicycle Access shall be provided. Revised rules are available in Section 2-19 of the Rules of the City of New York.
- Bikes in Buildings information for office building tenants and subtenants
- Bikes in Buildings information for building owners
- Bikes in Buildings information for employees
- Download the Bikes in Buildings fact sheet (pdf)
- If you have questions or concerns, please contact NYC DOT.
- A tenant or subtenant determines the number of bikes it would like to accommodate in its office space
- Be sure to take into account that there is sufficient space to safely store the bikes in a manner that does not violate the building or fire code as well as any other applicable law, rule or code.
- The tenant or subtenant completes a Tenant Request and sends it by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested, to the building owner.
- The building owner may either:
- Implement and post a Bicycle Access Plan that allows the tenant’s employees to bring bikes into the tenant’s office space within 30 days of receipt of Tenant Request or
- Request an exception within 15 days of receipt of Tenant Request, due to:
- Alternate bicycle parking facilities available, or
- Absence of freight elevators in the building
If the building owner submits an Exception Request, the tenant or subtenant should receive notification from the building owner within 30 days of the Tenant Request. Otherwise, a Bicycle Access Plan or a notice of its availability should be posted in the building’s lobby within 35 days of the Tenant Request.
By completing and sending a Tenant Request, you will be asking your building owner to allow your employees to bring their bicycles into your office space.
You will be responsible for providing a space, or spaces, in your office to store bicycles. You must also certify that there is sufficient space within your premises to store the requested number of bicycles in a manner that does not violate the building or fire code, or any other applicable law, rule or code, or which would impede ingress or egress to such premises or building.
Individual employees of businesses in office buildings may not file a Tenant Request, requests may only be filed by a lease holding tenant or subtenant in such buildings. Submit a Tenant Request Enter a USPS Certified Mail Tracking Number
In response to a request, a building owner may file a Bicycle Access Plan or submit an Exception Request.
Creating a Bicycle Access Plan
A Bicycle Access Plan describes how a specific building will accommodate bicycle parking for tenants, while complying with legal requirements.
- A Bicycle Access Plan must be completed by the building's owner.
- The plan must be implemented within 30 days of receipt of the Tenant Request.
- The plan, or a notice of its availability, must be posted within 35 days of receipt of the Tenant Request.
- Within 40 days of receipt of the Tenant Request, owners must
submit the plan to NYC DOT online or mail to:
Attn. Bikes in Buildings Program
55 Water Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10041
- Plans may not subject tenants to such requirements as the signing of releases, indemnities, revocation clauses, or compliance with building rules and regulations that impose additional duties on tenants and cyclists that are not contemplated by the statute.
All Bicycle Access Plans must include provisions for at least one freight elevator that meets each of the following conditions:
- It will be made available for bicycle access for all who request during the regular operating hours
- That bicycles will be allowed to use the same routes that freight is transported through the building to the extent practicable as long as it doesn’t present substantial safety risks
- That no escort by building personnel will be required for a person transporting a bicycle to or from the elevator if an escort is not required when a person is transporting freight to or from the elevator
- That a person transporting a bicycle to or from the elevator, as well as any other any package or other material in such person’s possession, shall be subject to the same or substantially similar security measures applicable to other persons entering the building or elevator
- Allows for bicycles to be brought in or out of the building using one or more designated passenger elevators at any time when no freight elevator is operational
- Outlines the location of building entrances and the route to freight elevators that accommodate bicycle access
- Outlines the route to a designated area for bicycle parking on an accessible level if such bicycle parking is made available
- A notice to tenants and subtenants informing them of their responsibilities with respect to bicycle storage and any other information that NYC DOT may require
The Bicycle Access Plan may be amended from time to time to accommodate requests from other tenants or subtenants to provide bicycle access. Submit a Bicycle Access Plan
Making an Exception Request
A building owner may make an Exception Request:
- If the building's freight elevator is not available for use because unique circumstances exist involving substantial safety risks directly related to the use of such elevator
- If there is no freight elevator, or other elevator serving primarily as a freight elevator, in the building
- If there is a sufficient, secure, alternate, no-cost, indoor or sufficient, secure, alternate, no-cost, covered off-street bicycle parking available either on the premises or within four blocks or 1,000 feet, whichever is less.
Exception requests must be sent by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested, within 15 days of receipt of the Tenant Request for Bicycle Access in order to comply with the law. Mail to:
Attn. Bikes in Buildings Program
55 Water Street, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10041
Owners are also required to provide the tenant with a copy of the Exception Request within 30 days of receipt of the Tenant Request.
An additional Tenant Request or a change in circumstances (for example, a renovation that reconfigures the layout of the lobby) may require you to amend your Bicycle Access Plan(s) or request an exception(s). To amend your plan, please contact NYC DOT.
Individuals or employees who wish to bring bicycles into their workplace should ask their employers to request Bicycle Access from the building owner. Employers (Tenants or Subtenants) who request Bicycle Access are responsible for providing appropriate areas within their leased space to store bicycles.
If you work in a small office you can probably approach your employer directly. If you work in a larger office, your Human Resources, Facilities, Administration or Environmental Affairs departments may be helpful for making this request.
The building you work in is subject to the provisions of the Bicycle Access to Office Buildings Law if:
- It is a commercial office building
- It has a freight elevator, and
- A tenant/subtenant requests bicycle access
Approaching Your Employer
Share the Bikes in Buildings Program fact sheet with your employer.
Talk to other cyclists in your office to develop an estimate of how many employees would be interested in an opportunity for secure bicycle parking. This number will be important to your employer in making a Tenant Request and could also provide compelling information about the need for improved parking options.
Space for Bike Storage
Bicycle parking requires minimal space. Many offices have some unused “dead space” at the ends of hallways, in the reception area, or underneath stairs. A space of 14 feet by 6 feet can store up to dozen bicycles.
If you have questions or concerns about NYC’s Bikes in Buildings program, please contact NYC DOT