Back in the 1980s, it was common to see bicycles locked to coin-operated parking meters on Toronto streets. Local politicians sought to develop a piece of street furniture for the sole purpose of bicycle parking, in order to free up space on parking meters. It was urban designers and architects David Dennis and Eric Pederson who helped design the original 1984 version of the Toronto bike ring; an aluminum cast ring bolted onto a steel pipe. Over the years, thousands of bike rings were installed around the city due to its simple and effective design. Unfortunately, one design flaw was taken advantage of by thieves; the rings could be broken off using hammers or two-by-fours. In 2006, an additional ring was added for reinforcement and then a sleeker and stronger re-design was introduced in 2008 by David Dennis. Rather than having the rings bolted to the steel pole, the new design allowed for the rings to sleeve onto the pole, which greatly improved their durability. In some cases, they have been coloured to add some flair to their surrounding streetscape. Today, around 17,500 bike rings are installed in the city; a combination of the various designs over the years. While various bike lock designs can be found all over the world, Torontonians should be proud of their unique bike ring and the contributions both Dennis and Pederson have made to urban streetscapes and to cyclists keeping their beloved bikes safe and secure.
City of Toronto Bike Ring Design
Photo taken by James Portoraro