Although not covered at the last LAT meeting, the provision of cycle parking came up in a Twitter discussion later.
Key views and themes
Some cycle parking racks have been placed around the area over the years. More recently this has included the on road type. There is a demand for more cycle parking in some streets and those which have been installed are generally well used in that they are full of bikes. However, there remains a problem of bike abandonment on our streets, and the suggestion that bike parking provision can become a ‘graveyard’ of unused machines.
Demand for bike parking: If you would like bike parking on your street you can fill out a form on the council website. With the council committing to place 80 new Sheffield stands per year – a figure which does not keep up with population growth, let alone meet current shortfall – there is clearly demand which outstrips supply citywide, but demand is not uniform across the city or different streets.
Preliminary results from the LAT Transport Survey suggest that 99% of respondents keep their bike in their house or garden and 75% of respondents wouldn’t use public bike parking. However, of the 3 streets which produced these figures; Bonchurch, Hallett and Franklin, nearly all have a wide pavement leading to a front garden accessed from the street – something much less common in the ‘Hanover’ part of the ward. Responses from Lincoln Street suggest that almost 50% are in favour of more bike parking. Bike racks on Elm Grove often seem underused, which may be because racks were sited more to prevent pavement parking than to respond to immediate local need.
Clearly then, the precise location of bike racks makes a difference as well as the type of street. Residents in Scotland Street – terraced housing with no easy access to gardens and narrow pavements – have carried out their own survey and are lobbying the council for on road parking here, and their website is worth a look.
Fly- parking: On streets with narrow pavements – especially in areas where a number of properties have entered HMO use – fly-parking or bikes on lamp-posts etc.. can be a particular problem for pedestrians, wheelchair users and those with buggies. Bikes obstructing the highway can be reported to the council in the same way as any other highway obstruction. High levels of fly-parking of bikes in regular use suggests a need for better public cycle parking.
Abandoned Cycles: This is a big problem everywhere – not just in Brighton or Hanover. If you think a bike has been abandoned it can be reported to the council, who will aim to look at it within three days and – if appropriate – will place 14 day notice or removal on it. The council cannot remove a properly parked bike – whatever its condition – unless a notice has been served, and if an owner comes forward to contest the notice, the bike cannot be removed by the council whatever its condition might be. If the council removes a bike which has not been abandoned, they may be liable to compensate the owner for loss of lock and any other damage caused.
Not all bikes which have been left for a while or look a bit ropey are abandoned. Many people reduce cycling during winter for example but will want to pick up their bike again in the spring.
Some initiatives and ideas
Bike parking: The Hanover Community Association operates two secure cycle parking areas but these are substantially oversubscribed. Any other off road sites which can be found would be welcomed. Residents in Ditchling Rise have seen secure on street ‘Bike Hangars’ installed, which reduce street clutter and offer better management of spaces, and this may be something to explore here.
Bike repair: If bikes in your street seem in a state of disrepair, Simon Hickmott – BHCC Travel Planning Officer – has offered to assist in arranging street-by-street Dr Bike sessions, helping residents to get their bikes going again. If this might be helpful for your street, leave the street name in the comments below.
For other repair options, we also have Cranks workshop in Kemptown and the newly opened Brighton BikeHub in the former municipal market on Circus Street. Both these projects offer supported self-help workshops where you can get help to fix your own bike.
Disposing of your bike: Getting rid of a bike which you don’t want, and has little value is not that easy. Until recently the only options were to take it to the council recycling centre at Wilson’s Ave or to the YMCA project in Portslade – both requiring transport. Since BikeHub opened though they offer another option. As well as providing a self-help workshop, BikeHub take in donated bikes, works with volunteers to refurbish them and sells them at affordable prices. BikeHub is looking at ways to increase donation, and was awarded funding at this years Brighton CityCamp event to explore innovative ways of making donating as easy as abandoning, and a pilot project BikeBank will be run in September and will include the Hanover area – more on this project HERE
Community involvement: The issue of abandoned bikes clogging up bike racks is something shared by other LAT’s, and the Community Safety Partnership Projects Team are exploring ways that communities can work with the council for better management of these facilities. Ideas being explored at the moment are around early reporting and monitoring of abandoned bikes, closer work with BikeHub to encourage owners to donate their bikes rather than just leave them, and the potential for community volunteers to assist with removal of bikes which have an expired enforcement notice.
This topic will be picked up at future LAT meetings, and in the meantime, do leave thoughts and comments in the box below.