You can’t blame cyclists from the UK for casting envious glances at some of the metropolises on the continent. Capitals like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and Budapest have embraced the concept of being peddle-friendly, turning themselves into urban cycling oases that people of all ages can enjoy. The UK can sometimes be found lacking in this department, shown in the absence of British cities in the 2015 Copenhagenzine rankings for the world’s best cycling cities for the second time in a row. It is clearly evident that more needs to be done to help people get on their bikes on a day-to-day basis.
A cornerstone of making an urban area bicycle-friendly is providing secure cycle parking at locations where it is needed. We’ve decided to take a look at 5 key reasons why this is the case and how they can improve the lives of the people who live there.
Fitness boosting daily workouts
One of the biggest problems facing the UK in recent years has been the increasing levels of obesity among its population. Cycling is a fun and easy form of exercise that can also have many practical perks — one of these being the simple way it can be integrated into your lifestyle.
According to Livestrong, making a 20-minute commute to work can burn between 90 and 300 calories, which would make staying fit a lot easier if more people committed to it. A major issue that puts many potential bikers off is the lack of parking for their bicycle at their workplace.
Without dedicated parking, many workers can feel uneasy about leaving their bikes unattended in public, so it stands to reason that increased options for bike parking would help to increase the numbers of people commuting by bike.
Reducing bicycle-related crime
It seems obvious to say that providing specialised bike parking would help to reduce bike-related crime — but it is very much true. Bike thieves are less likely to target bikes that are locked within in a dedicated parking facility as they tend to be a lot busier and well-lit.
Bicycle parking units are specially designed to keep each one as secure as possible, making them safer to use than locking a bike to street fixtures like railings, lampposts, or bollards. The most secure bike parking on the market are bike lockers, which enclose the whole bike and make it impossible to steal.
Riding a bike around a city instead of driving or taking public transport can help you to save money, as you are not paying the costs for running a car or for travel passes. As mentioned earlier, providing bike parking is a huge influence over whether people commit to cycling or not, so having readily available parking can save people money on a day-to-day basis.
Even though it may seem so, transport authorities do not have to look at an increase in cyclists as lost revenue. By making stations cycle-friendly with dedicated parking, they can encourage commuters from further afield to take the train and bike the rest of the way to their destination. There are many exciting projects that have been completed or are underway to upgrade train and bus stations with cycle parking, an excellent example of the Cambridge rail station project undertaken by Bellsure.
Helping the environment
People can reduce their carbon footprint by choosing a zero-emission form of transport like cycling over driving or taking public transport. By encouraging people to take their bikes by providing parking spaces, cities can reduce their environmental impact and look towards a greener future. With more people embracing cycling as part of their lifestyle, there would also be less traffic on the road, reducing both congestion and road safety.
After considering these reasons, it is quite clear that improved bike parking can lead to a better urban lifestyle for everyone. You can help to improve the bike parking in your own local area by letting the authorities know how you feel. Use a website like Write to Them to put together a message to your local council or MP, and if your idea is good enough you may well influence their decision and bring improved bike parking to a location near you.