Whilst many European countries and cities have embraced cycling as a primary means of transport for its residents, in the UK the barriers to cycling for many people in our urban environments can be off-putting.
Cities such as Copenhagen have moved from a city of cars to a city lived in the saddle; only 29% of Copenhagen residents even own a car, there are more bikes than residents and the city boasts 454 kilometres of cycle tracks with traffic lights that favour cyclists at rush hour. Compare that to the urban UK cyclist’s experience with intermittent cycle lanes, heavy traffic and pollution and when you make it to your destination, often there is no secure parking for your bike.
Whilst many areas are seeking to address better cycle routes in our towns and cities to make it safer and more accessible, one area that is often overlooked is the provision of cycle parking.
If people are to move towards the Copenhagen model of bikes becoming the first choice of transportation for work, leisure, school runs and even shopping trips, there needs to be secure cycle parking provided at locations throughout our towns and cities, stations, town centres, leisure facilities and the workplace.
DIFFERENT CYCLE PARKING SOLUTIONS FOR DIFFERENT AREAS
With cycle crime in the UK running at nearly 300,000 thefts a year (297,000 in 2016 Crime Survey for England & Wales) it is not surprising that cyclists are reluctant to use their bikes, if they do not have secure cycle parking facilities at the end of their journey.
So what are the options and things to consider for providing cycle parking in an urban, built up or residential area?
Workers who commute into cities and towns on the train are being encouraged to use their bikes for part of their journey. Over the last few years, government funding and a focus on cycle/rail integration has led to investment at rail stations to improve the quantity and quality of cycle parking for their commuters.
- Large rail stations are creating cycle hubs (often in unused areas) that provide secure, access controlled cycle parking for commuters. Often these hubs also have additional facilities such as bike repair stations and shower and changing facilities.
See our case study on the New Cycle Hub Compound at Dartford Station for Southern Rail
- The use of two tier cycle racks is becoming the cycle parking solution of choice as they provide double the cycle parking spaces for the same footprint as traditional Sheffield stand or cycle shelter options
- Even small stations are investing in cycle shelters
Transport for London’s investment in cycle parking throughout their tube station network
- Cycle lockers are also still a popular choice at transport hubs and provide the ultimate in security and weather protection
SMART lockers installed across the North East tram stops for NEXUS Tyne and Wear Passenger Transport Executive.
The onus is also on companies to encourage their workforce to cycle to work. There are many benefits in employees cycling in terms of increasing their fitness and wellbeing, which in turn improves productivity and attendance.
To encourage people to cycle to work, and leave their valuable bikes, careful consideration needs to be made as to the type of cycle parking provided; the positioning of the cycle shelters and also what other facilities they may need.
Things to consider when planning cycle parking for your employees include:
- Cater for an increase in cyclists, not just the numbers you have now
- Ensure the positioning of the bike parking gives easy access to work entrances and is not hidden away (which raises security issues, especially in the winter)
- Provide weather protection
- Include sufficient lighting
- Consider necessary security measures such as CCTV or access control
If you have cycle parking facilities for non-staff people such as customers or patients, you may also want to consider providing a dedicated staff only cycle parking area such as the cycle compound at Goole Hospital, Lincolnshire.
It is not only the cycle parking at the end of the journey, for many people, especially those who live in flats or urban housing developments, storage of their bike is an issue within their home. Developers are increasingly being tasked with planning and providing cycle parking for residents and ‘Aiming to make access to cycle storage at least as convenient as access to car parking’ (Manual for Streets’ Department for Transport 2007).
- Cycle compounds with smart access control provide secure storage for residents
- New designs, such as the Bike Nest, that has the footprint of one car park space, provide options for cycle parking within existing car parking areas.
CITY AND TOWN CENTRES
In city and town centres the traditional Sheffield stand has long been the default cycle parking option as it is cost effective, low maintenance and space saving. There are also variations on this, such as the ‘M’ stand, which provide multiple locking points for cyclists.
Even in city centres, cyclists do appreciate some weather protection, so when space allows, cycle shelters may be a better option.
It is important that cycle parking provision aesthetically fits in with the environment when in public spaces and this is where choices of material and style are so important.
In Hull city centre, stainless steel was used for our Paragon Shelter for a sleek, modern look and low maintenance.
If you would like to discuss the best cycle parking solutions for your urban environment, call Lockit-safe on 01472 346 382 and we will be happy to advise and talk you through the options.