Tens of thousands on waiting list for safe space to store bike across UK, figures show

Tens of thousands of city dwellers are on waiting lists for a safe place to park their bikes, figures reveal.

By Emily Beament and Neil Lancefield
Monday, 18th October 2021, 7:48 am
Updated Monday, 18th October 2021, 7:51 am
Figures obtained by the PA news agency revealed that tens of thousands of people across the UK's cities are on a waiting list to store their bike in a safe space.
Figures obtained by the PA news agency revealed that tens of thousands of people across the UK's cities are on a waiting list to store their bike in a safe space.

And with many towns and cities providing no facilities for residents to store their cycles, campaigners are calling for more funding for councils to provide safe parking on residential streets to help drive the take-up of clean transport.

Figures obtained by the PA news agency revealed that demand for on-street bike hangars - secure, covered spaces for residents to park their bikes - massively outstrips supply.

There are just 20,000 hangar spaces, with more than 51,000 people on waiting lists.

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Hundreds of people were on the waiting list for bike parking in each of the Scottish cities.

Only a few other council areas across the UK were found to have hangars, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol and Salford.

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The vast majority of hangars are in London, where they have proved highly popular.

Some London boroughs have thousands of residents on the waiting list for a spot to safely park their bike on the street.

Among the cities which said they have no hangars were Birmingham, Cardiff, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle.

David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, said long-term funding is required to "better cater to cyclists".

The figures also show that in some areas it can be more expensive to secure a bike parking spot for a year than to pay for the cheapest annual residents' parking permit for a car, for example for an electric or low-emissions vehicle.

On-street covered hangars typically have room for six bikes and take up the same amount of space as a single car.

They provide a lockable, dry space for bicycles, at an annual charge, for people who might not have room for them at home.

A lack of space can put people off owning a bike or force them to keep them outside where they are at greater risk of being stolen.

Greater Manchester's transport commissioner, Chris Boardman, who has himself been a victim of bicycle thefts, said investment in facilities which give people "a reasonable expectation" that their property will be secure is vital to encourage more people to switch to active travel.

The Olympic cycling gold medallist described the number of people on waiting lists for bicycle hangars as both "deeply frustrating and fantastically exciting".

He went on: "Just look at the potential there.

"We've allowed streets to become dominated by cars. But if you want people to travel differently, then you've got to remove the barriers, and secure parking comes up time and time again as an essential part of it."

Mr Boardman said he would be "happy to lobby Government" to secure funding for more hangars in Greater Manchester, and believes they should be rolled out nationwide.

Anthony Lau, founder of Cyclehoop, the firm which provides many of the UK's cycle hangars, said every time one is installed "demand is created for two more units by word of mouth from new members".

He defended their price, stating that "for roughly the cost of a couple of coffees each month" users get accessible cycle storage protected from the elements and decrease the chance of theft and vandalism.

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