A PIONEERING cycle rack project designed to solve the problem of bikes being chained to tenement stairwells has been unveiled in the Capital.
On-street bicycle racks are being trialled in five districts across the city where cyclists can tether their bike instead of securing it inside the common stair.
The £30,000 pilot scheme will test out three variations of bike storage system – lockers, hinged units and roll-up units – in Southside, South Oxford Street, Warrender Park Crescent, Lonsdale Terrace and Douglas Crescent.
Edinburgh is the first Scottish local authority to pilot the on-street bike racks as part of a partnership with CHAMP – a European project that promotes cycling.
Cyclists will have to sign up to access the units – set to launch at the end of August – and will be selected on a first come, first served basis.
Free to use initially, a £5 per month fee will eventually be levied to cover maintenance costs.
Allan Tinto, a city transport officer, said the bike racks were attracting “mixed reviews” but could be rolled out across the Capital if the pilot proved successful.
Transport convener Councillor Lesley Hinds said: “Hopefully we can look at installing the racks in other parts of the city which are all high tenement areas. You only have to go into a tenement to see bikes blocking the stairs and that can be quite dangerous.
“The point is that whether you are a bike user or not, if you live in a tenement area you have got somewhere safe to store your bike because if you’re not a cyclist it can irritate people.”
The new bike racks are also expected to reduce thefts. Cyclist John Morrissey, 30, said he had fallen victim the thieves several times in recent years.
“I have had two stolen in the last four years and they were both expensive so it’s very annoying.
“Because of that, for a long time I had my bike in the sitting room because I did not want to leave it outside.”
Another resident Claire Milne, 42, is one of the first people to trial the units after she’d had three bikes stolen in the last year.
“If we can place them in here it will be better because you cannot carry a bike up four floors unless you’re an athlete,” she said. “This is the best solution – it’s the most successful and practical thing the city council has done for me in years.”