A reader and Carolina Panthers fan emailed us recently about parking his bicycle at Bank of America stadium. He tried earlier this year, before the Panthers FanFest, but couldn’t find a rack. He also couldn’t find anything on the Panthers web site about it, and when he called the team to check, he was told that no, there is no bike parking.
“This should be addressed,” he says.
We agree — sort of. On the list of Panthers priorities for 2018, parking for bicycles probably should fall about 500 spots below more important things like fixing the defensive backfield and repairing a broken internal culture. But it’s 2018. Charlotte is trying to be a bike-friendly city. Is there really not a rack at the big football stadium? We drove around the stadium and also couldn’t find one. The web site, which helpfully covered everything from driving directions to Uber dropoffs, appeared to have nothing on bicycles. So with the Panthers playing their home exhibition opener Friday against Miami, we called the team’s main number this week to see what information fans on two wheels are given.
“There are bike racks,” we were told.
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Where are they located?
“I’m not specifically sure where they are.”
But they’re at the stadium?
“They’re not on stadium property.”
This is more of a nudge than a knock on the Panthers, who as a whole are very good corporate citizens. But as our city tries to become more welcoming to bicycles, it would be nice if everyone did their part, including our most visible employers who also occasionally get dollars from the city.
Are a ton of folks riding their bikes to Panthers games? Probably not. But is it a low-grade, low-cost investment to accommodate those who do? Definitely. The city also might help out by crafting suggested bike routes to the stadium on game days. There’s a good chance of an increase in two-wheeled traffic this season, thanks to the recent blizzard of ride-share bikes and scooters on uptown streets. Having a designated route — and a designated place to park — might alleviate potential traffic and clutter issues at home games.
It’s also good for the brand — a way to show the young talent our city covets that we’re thoughtful about things that matter to them, big and small.