Improving cycle parking to help tackle cycle theft

This article was published in 2021, in Magazine 150.

Cycle theft continues to be a huge problem in Cambridge, resulting in estimated losses in excess of £3m per year as well as significant inconvenience and upset for individuals. Around a quarter of cycle theft victims stop cycling, and two-thirds report cycling less often. We answer your FAQs on how to tackle cycle theft in the community.

Where should I report cycle theft?

Contact the police immediately. If you see cycle theft in progress, call 999. Call 101 or report using the online form for a theft that has already happened (the green webchat button at cambs.police.uk is a quick way to do this).

Our Winter 2020/21 magazine has a list of things you can do if your cycle is stolen: read it at camcycle.org.uk/magazine149. One of the most important things to do before you suffer the theft of a cycle is to gather information about your cycle (manufacturer and model, size and colour, frame number) and register it at bikeregister.com. You should also keep your receipt and a photo of your cycle in your personal records. This will maximise your chance of recovery if a theft happens.

How can I improve the safety of the shared cycle park where I live?

Residential shared cycle parkAnecdotal evidence suggests that some thieves are targeting the shared cycle parks often provided in new developments. If you have concerns about the one you use, contact your landlord to request that it is properly maintained and that repairs are prompt. Security lights can also act as a deterrent. If you pay a service charge, you can ask for it to be used to maximise cycle security.

You could also review the planning application for your building at applications.greatercambridgeplanning.org to check if cycle parking facilities have been installed correctly in line with the agreed designs. Cambridge residents should refer to the city council cycle parking policy to ensure cycle parking meets their standards. Contact us if you need more advice.

How can I get some cycle parking installed on my regular route?

Start getting cycling onto the agenda of your local residents’ association, parish council, and your local councillor to highlight areas where these facilities are needed. Area committee meetings can be used to bring cycling issues to the attention of local councillors in Cambridge city. Team up with others to strengthen your voice.

How should I ask my workplace to provide better facilities?

If there isn’t enough designated cycle parking at your place of work, try raising this with your employer. Ask them to look at the Camcycle website for information about cycle parking design and encourage them to consult us about appropriate solutions.

I’m worried that the cycle parking I use isn’t secure. What can I do?

Whether the issue is with residential cycle parking or that provided at a station or shopping area, photograph the problem as evidence. Where possible, contact the company responsible for the facilities to ask them to repair any faulty hardware. You can also contact your local councillor to highlight the problem. Find their details at writetothem.com

How do we ensure that all new developments include safe and appropriate cycle parking?

If there is a planning application in your area, you can object if the plan fails to include sufficient space and security for cycles. Camcycle’s cycle parking guide will give you more information about appropriate designs.

To help campaign for higher cycle parking standards in new commercial and residential developments, the planning responders discussion in Cyclescape (our members’ forum) is a good place to start. Find it at Cyclescape thread 4290.

What else can I do?

If you aren’t already a Camcycle member, consider joining at camcycle.org.uk/membership to help tackle the problem of cycle theft in our area. There are often discussions about cycle security and cycle theft campaigns on our members’ forum. Cyclescape issue 494 will take you to a number of related discussions.

James Hems