If you have ever stashed your bike on a balcony or crammed it into your dining room, you know the hardship that comes with a lack of proper bike storage.
The Clean Cities Campaign has launched a new drive to install more bike hangars across London in order to reduce waiting list times and get more people on bikes.
According to Freedom of Information (FOI) request data, more than 60,000 people across the capital are on a waiting list for a secure bike hangar, which extrapolated out is the equivalent of 375,000 nationwide.
The campaign is asking people to share their own pictures of the wild places they keep their bikes, using the hashtag #ThisisAwkward on social media or by visiting https://bit.ly/awkwardbike. The best pictures will be featured on billboards across Islington and Southwark from next week.
The FOI data, collated by the Clean Air Wins coalition, shows that there is a waiting list of 60,715 people wanting to hire a bike hangar across London’s 32 boroughs. There are only 22,592 spaces available across London, meaning that there are almost three times people wanting space as there are slots, and those are already in use.
A bike hangar is a covered, lockable and secure pod which sits on the road, taking up about the same space as a parked car would. Normally they can hold about six bikes.
Southwark is the borough with the longest waiting list in the capital, with 8,524 people registered as waiting to hire bike storage. In north London, Camden has a waiting list of 7,307 while Islington has 6,963 cyclists waiting for a space. South of the river, Lewisham has 5,444 people waiting while Lambeth has 5,169.
Oliver Lord, who heads up the Clean Cities Campaign, said it was "utterly unfair" that there was such a lack of safe bike parking considering the amount of space taken up by cars.
“More than 60,000 Londoners are waiting for a bike hangar space - and that is just the people lucky to have the time and energy to put their name forward," he said. "If councillors want to help Londoners jump on a bike and use their car less then they have to make it as easy as possible. Forcing people to do the ‘cycle salsa’ at home isn’t just an inconvenience, it's utterly unfair given the abundance of space set aside for cars on our streets.
"By not delivering the secure bike parking we need, London’s councillors are failing residents who want to do the right thing and neglecting their duties to reduce air pollution, tackle the climate crisis and help prevent the 400 bike thefts that occur every week.”
Caroline English, who lives in Barnsbury Park in Islington, was warned that there were thousands of people ahead of her on a waiting list and ended up waiting six months for a space in a bike hangar. In the end, she had to turn down the offer of the space, as her lease was due to expire, but Islington Council needed her to commit to a space for a whole year.
“I store my bike in the living room and my boyfriend works next to his in the home office - it’s pretty cramped and definitely awkward. Clearly, they need to build many more bike hangars. But you also need to create more flexibility into the schemes - this is London, people don’t necessarily stay in the same place for years.
"If there was an online system where you could hire on a monthly basis that would help and give some flexibility if people say prefer cycling in the summer months. Giving people another large annual commitment isn’t really realistic.”
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