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Do we have a good Bicycle Network in the UK?

Posted on Friday, 07 December 2012 12:28PM by
Secure Bicycle Parking is Key to ensuring our British cycle network continues to be used and grow

Bicycles are quickly becoming the preferred mode of transportation for many people in the UK now. High fuel costs, an unstable economy and increased awareness of the environmental impact caused from vehicle emissions is inspiring people to ride bicycles for commuting, short trips, recreation and errands. Apparently there is a popular car sticker being used in the states, which reads “My Other Car is a Bicycle” and this is now more and more a reality for many commuters. As cycling increases, so does the need for safe and connected travel networks. 

There is a very interesting article that features below, taken from an american online magazine called American Infrastructure  The full article is below:

Secure and covered bicycle parking is an integral part of this system, but often these facilities are a neglected component of the network. Developing a safe and interconnected bicycle network is key to increasing and encouraging bicycling as a mode of transportation.  A complete network includes safe streets for riding, convenient access to transit, inclusion of bicycle lanes, and secure bicycle parking.  According to a 2007 report released by the City of New York, the most common reason that non-commuting cyclists do not commute by bike is because of driver behaviour/traffic and lack of safe bicycle storage at work. 

"Secure bike storage is a major issue for us," says David Wilson, president of the 1,200-member Westchester Cycle Club in New York City's northern suburbs, who is working with municipal officials to install such systems on local train stations.  "Cyclists carry lots of safety gear on their bikes, like lights and tire tubes, and that gear is at risk locked to a bike rack. Many bikes aren't cheap, and cyclists don't want them sitting out in the weather all day."

Connecting Bikes and Transit

Transit systems across the country have successfully implemented Bikes on Buses, Bikes on Trains, and Bike to Park and Ride programs drawing record numbers of users and significantly increasing transit ridership.  The integration of bicycles and transit effectively supports both modes of travel and provides "first mile, last mile" connections for travellers.  Many times the bicycle racks on buses are full leaving the customer stranded at the stop or with only the option of riding a distance too long for the average commuter.  Many Bikes on Trains programs only allow cyclists to board with bicycles during off-peak hours or weekends.  These issues can be solved through the inclusion of safe and secure bicycle parking near transit and bus stops and park and ride lots providing customers with options.

In California, the Riverside Transportation Commission provides customers with choices through their  investment in bicycle parking at train stations.  The covered and secure parking provides on demand use for bicyclists making the connection from home to train and train to home.

Providing Security

Security concerns are always a top priority for managing public facilities.  Public transit agencies operate systems in which public access is crucial not only to daily operations but also to the fulfillment of the agency's mission.  It is difficult to secure and protect any area to which the public is allowed open access.  Choosing the correct form of bicycle parking that allows for easy viewing and access by security officers while providing protection for the bicycle is critical. 

Increasing Environmental Awareness

The environmental or green benefits associated with bicycling especially in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions are well documented. While an average vehicle emits more than one pound of CO2 per mile, riding a bicycle emits close to zero.  The 2001 National Household Travel Survey shows that 40 percent of all trips made are two miles or less.   These short trips are perfect for travel by bicycle and effectively lower the cold start emissions from vehicles.

The Bottom Line

Providing safe and secure bicycle networks that include covered parking options benefits everyone.  With the appropriate planning, a new generation of cyclists will emerge.   Bicycling is fast becoming the norm and not the exception.  Safe and secure bicycle parking is a critical part of our transportation infrastructure. 

Obviously we would agree with American article, we here in the UK, have even more reasons and opportunities to get on our bikes!