Secure bike sheds are to be introduced to residential streets in Edinburgh as part of a new scheme aimed at encouraging people to take up cycling.
The city council has announced plans for a £50,000 pilot scheme that will see six new bicycle storage facilities introduced to streets dominated by tenement flats, where residents often struggle to find safe places to keep their bikes.
It is part of a range of measures by the council aimed at increasing the number of people that use bikes to get around the city rather than other more polluting modes of transport.
Talks are now set to take place with residents and cyclist groups to choose the best locations for the facilities and it is hoped they will be installed by early next year.
If the pilot scheme proves successful, the bike sheds could be rolled out across the city.
Councillor Gordon Mackenzie, the city’s transport leader and chair of the council’s cycle forum, said: “We already have a great track record in promoting cycling but this is one of the areas where we particularly want to do more.”
In 2006, the council introduced a trial scheme where bike racks were introduced in tenements in a bid to cut down on rows between neighbours about bikes blocking stairwells, and to cut bike thefts.
The trial was not judged to be a success, however, following a range of problems including difficulty getting agreement from all residents, space restrictions, planning concerns and maintenance issues.
Now officials hope that the “on-street” alternative will prove more successful.
Covered cycle racks have already been built at Edinburgh Bus Station, Newcraighall and Edinburgh Park and areas for bike parking are normally now included in new housing developments. However, there is not normally any provision for bike parking near older flats.
Ian Maxwell, a spokesman for Lothians cycling group Spokes, said: “Spokes has done a lot of work on this because we know from our members that it is a big problem in Edinburgh and we are really pleased that the council has taken on board some of our suggestions.
“Cycle use in Edinburgh is growing but we know tenements and the lack of cycling parking is one of the reasons that stop people, so if this is made to work it could be a real boost to cycle use.”
City leaders provided extra money to promote cycling last month and it is hoped that 100 extra on-street bike parking spaces will be installed by the end of March to improve access to shops and offices, while new solar lights will be fitted on the Union Canal towpath from Craiglockhart to the Water of Leith.
Mark Turley, director of the council’s services for communities department, said: “The issue of residential bike parking is a significant problem for Edinburgh, where there is a larger proportion of older tenemental properties which generally do not have areas available for bike parking.”