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Nashville requiring some businesses to add bike racks

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NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Visitors to downtown Nashville may soon notice even more places to park their bikes.

Many businesses have already set up the racks, but soon there won't be a choice.

Whether strolling through downtown or checking out the latest 12 South hot spot, there's one thing you're bound to see - more people riding their bike.

"We have a lot more people bicycling, and we've created a lot more infrastructure for bicyclists to bike on," said Kim Hawkins, a member of the bicycle, pedestrian committee.

Everywhere you turn, people are using their bikes to get from Point A to Point B. When that rider stops, there's often no safe place to park.

"Downtown, bike racks may seem a little sparse," said bicycle enthusiast Loren Tucker. "I've always found a place to hook it up. It might not be the place you're supposed to lock your bike up."

Over the past five years the number of Nashvillians riding their bike for work or leisure has doubled. That's why the Metro Council has passed a new ordinance requiring all new businesses in the urban district to install a bike rack.

Whether it's an office, retailer, restaurant or an educational facility, all of those will require some bike parking.

Existing apartments won't have to add any bike racks, but any new construction will. One space will be required for every four units, up to 50 spaces.

Though many businesses have already installed bike racks on their own to lure customers, Metro is now saying this isn't optional.

"This now gives us a place to actually park those bikes, and to know that parking is now going to be available," said Tucker.

"Since 2009, our bicycle infrastructure has more than doubled," said Hawkins. "That means we have twice as many paved bike paths, bike ways and greenways than we did in 2009."

Nashville has been voted a bike friendly city by League of American Cyclist.

A lot of bicyclists end up hooking their bike up to a street sign, a parking meter or something that's really not intended to hold bikes.

"I think it's a good idea," said Tucker. "I think encouraging and making bicycling an easier thing to do is a good thing."

The new rules passed by Metro Council only apply to businesses in specific urban zoning districts.

If you own a business and you're wondering how this will impact you, you should call the Metro Planning Department.

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