Thousands of city dwellers are on waiting lists for a safe place to park their bikes, statistics show.
And with residents in many towns and cities with no facilities to store their bicycles, campaigners are calling for more money for councils to provide safe parking on residential streets to help drive clean transportation. .
Data obtained by the PA news agency showed that demand for on-street bike hangers — safe, covered places for residents to park their bikes — largely outpaced supply.
There are only 20,000 hangar spaces, with more than 51,000 people on waiting lists.
Most are in hangars London where they have proven to be extremely popular.
Some London boroughs have thousands of residents on a waiting list for a place to safely park their bikes on the street.
If you want people to travel differently, you have to overcome obstacles
Hangers were found in only a few other council areas across Britain, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol and Salford.
Hundreds of people were on bike parking waiting lists in each of the Scottish cities.
Cities that said they had no hangars included Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.
Statistics also show that securing a bike parking spot for a year may be more expensive than paying for the cheapest annual residents’ parking permit for a car in some areas, for example electric or low-emissions. for the vehicle.
On-street cover hangers typically have room for six bikes and take up as much space as a single car.
They provide a lockable, dry place for bicycles for an annual fee for those who may not have room for them at home.
Lack of space can prevent people from keeping bikes or force them to keep them outside where they are more prone to theft.
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more than 77,000 bicycle thefts were reported in England and Wales in the year ending March 2021 – the equivalent of more than eight thefts every hour.
The PA received information about bike hanger provision from 77 cities, London boroughs and metropolitan city councils across the UK.
Transport Commissioner of Greater Manchester, Chris Boardman One who has been a victim of bicycle theft himself, said investing in facilities that give people a “reasonable expectation” that their assets will be safe is key to encouraging more people to go on active travel.
The Olympic cycling gold medalist described the number of people on the waiting list for the bicycle hangar as “both deeply frustrating and fantastically exciting”.
He continued: “Just look at the potential there.
“We have allowed the roads to be dominated by cars. But if you want people to travel differently, you have to overcome barriers, and secure parking comes up as an essential part of it from time to time. “
Mr Boardman said he would be “happy to lobby the government” to secure funding for more hangars in Greater Manchester, and believes they should be rolled out nationwide.
Anthony Lau, founder of CycleHoop, which provides many of the UK’s bicycle hangers, said that each time one is installed “new members are soliciting two more units by mouth”.
They defend their price, saying that “for the cost of about a couple of coffees each month” users get accessible bicycle storage safe from the elements and reduced chances of theft and vandalism.
The current lack of secure storage for bikes is regularly recognized as one of the biggest obstacles to increasing cycling
Leo Murray, director of innovation at climate charity Possible, warned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ambitions of a “golden age of cycling” are in danger of failing because councils are not able to meet “increasing local demand for cycling infrastructure”. .
He added: “The current lack of secure storage for bikes is routinely recognized as one of the biggest barriers to increasing cycling, especially for low-income and inner-city homes for which indoor space is at a premium. is on.”
Mr Murray said it was “absurd” that people with bicycles are sometimes charged more for storage than residents who park their cars across the street, and more disadvantaged neighborhoods need better solutions. .
He called on the government to put more funding for cycle storage funding on the table as part of its commitment to active travel.