Third of residents in Scotland ‘have no safe place to store bike’

More than a third of Scotland’s households have limited or no access to a safe place to store their bike, a report has shown.

Research by the country’s national cycling group Cycling Scotland found of the 2.6 million residential properties in Scotland, about 37 per cent (980,290) are flats in tenements, high-rises and apartment blocks that have no private outdoor space for sheds or garages where people can safely store their bikes.

That is an estimated 1.5 million people.

The report found people living in areas where the percentage of flats as a proportion of all residential properties is high, such as Glasgow (72 per cent), Edinburgh (65 per cent) and Aberdeen (55 per cent), notice the storage issue more.

Secure bike storage provided in the Gorbals, Glasgow

In the absence of safe spaces for storing bikes, residents are forced to lock them in communal closes, stairwells, hallways, balconies, railings – or in their homes.

With regards to social housing residents, who are, according to the report, four times less likely to own a car, almost half of them – 46 per cent – are unlikely to have somewhere suitable to store a bike, Cycling Scotland said.

This can make jobs, education and other important services less accessible.

The report noted there is currently little detail about minimum standards for residential cycle storage, nor is there a requirement to provide it in national planning and transport policies.

And planning policies and guidance among Scottish local authorities on cycle storage vary significantly, with most only making brief reference to provision and few giving any detail about cycle storage standards.

Kath Brough, head of behaviour change at Cycling Scotland, said securing safe cycle storage across the country could have “a transformative effect” on the number of people cycling in Scotland.

The report made recommendations to improve conditions for bike owners.

These included improving and creating more residential cycle storage on a national scale, which involves developing plans for retrofitting – the addition of new technology or features to older buildings.

And it warned the differing needs of people who cycle – particularly those who use non-standard bikes or who are disabled – need to be recognised more.

Ms Brough said: “Lack of safe, secure, covered, accessible and conveniently located cycle storage is a barrier to owning and using a bike.

“We know from research that a third of people in Scotland say not having somewhere to store a bike prevents them from cycling for everyday journeys, and this particularly affects those from lower socio-economic groups.”

Queens Cross Housing Association has used funding from Glasgow City Council and Cycling Scotland to install five separate secure storage facilities which provide parking for 96 bikes. The standalone structure is in a central, street-lit location, with motion sensor lighting inside.

Minister for active travel Patrick Harvie said the Scottish Government would “look closely” at the recommendations made.

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