How bicycle parking can make cities healthier & safer
The network of cars, commercial vehicles, public transport and bicycles is complex and its proper functioning is crucial to achieving safer and healthier cities.
Promoting the use of bicycles in our cities
The European Environment Agency estimates that almost 40,000 premature deaths each year are due to pollution. It is known that in cities vehicle traffic is the main generator of greenhouse gases, a situation that has worsened with the pandemic due to an increased mistrust of public transport.
Faced with congested cities and with excessively high pollution levels, promoting sustainable alternatives such as cycling is imperative. The reality is that only 4.3% of all Londoners commute to work by bicycle compared to 46% using public transport and 35% travelling by car. Cycling in urban environments is often fraught with the risk of accidents and anxiety over safe cycle parking.
The main barrier for the bicycle
One of the main reasons that slows down the increase in cyclists is the lack of places to park the bike safely, both at the start and at the destination of urban routes.
In the past cyclists have resorted to locking their bikes to lampposts, public seating and railings close their work, railway stations and shops. This has caused problems for councils and property owners, as well as providing easy access to thieves and vandals.
In order to create an efficient and effective parking network, cycle parking should be as conveniently located for the user as possible, essentially mirroring the ways people park their cars, that is, at home where the journey begins and at any stage of the journey, e.g., near shops, as well as the endpoint.
Installed in the correct location and offering sufficient space, high quality cycle facilities are essential for cities, and there are many different models to suit any environment, from “short-stay” parking such as cycle stands and high-capacity cycle racks to covered cycle shelters and lockers that offer more protection and spaces for “long-stay” cyclists.
It is promising that more people have taken up cycling for leisure during the pandemic but cycling infrastructure, including cycle parking and cycle lane demarcation, needs to be improved to nurture this recent trend and create lasting benefits for the environment.