Londoners: more chance of getting into Cambridge than getting a safe space for their bike

There are seven applications per cycle hanger space in the capital

a broken bicycle propped against a wall
Photo by Nick Page on Unsplash

In a city where 50 bikes are stolen every day, Londoners are finding it harder to secure a spot in a secure cycle hangar than gaining admission to the University of Cambridge, according to research by the Clean Cities Campaign. 

With 60,200 people on the waiting list for a cycle hangar across the capital, only 8,500 places have been created since May 2022, meaning that seven people are fighting for every single spot. Cambridge University on average receives around six applications per place.  In Barnet, there are 186 cycle hanger spaces in 31 hangers across the borough.  In comparison, Southwark has 6082 spaces across 671 hangers and Islington has space for 5695 bikes across 636 hangers in the borough.

Clean Cities is calling on the Mayor of London to urgently provide a £35 million fund to support boroughs so they can end waiting lists and ensure secure cycle parking is deployed where it is needed most. 

The demand comes as new research produced for the Clean Cities Campaign by transport consultancy Steer, shows that the demand for secure bike storage has soared by 17% in the last 18 months. In spring last year Clean Cities first ran a campaign highlighting the incredible places from toilets to bedrooms to balconies that people are forced to store their bikes.

The Mayor of London has called the lack of secure cycle parking at home “a major barrier to cycling” and “an issue that needs to be addressed”. Responding to questions by the London Assembly last month, the Mayor said “There is nothing that is going to put off a cyclist/a new cyclist more than not having somewhere to store their bike” and that “TfL’s research suggests that nearly half of Londoners actively considering taking up cycling have nowhere secure to store a cycle at home”.

Clean Cities have been calling on Londoners to share their stories of bike theft and the impact that this has on their lives. Victims of bike theft have been sharing their experiences using the hashtags #StolenDreams and #ThisisAwkward, in collaboration with grassroots campaign Stolen Ride which supports victims of theft to reunite them with their stolen bikes. 

Oliver Lord, Head of UK at Clean Cities Campaign said: “Having somewhere to safely keep your bike just shouldn’t be this hard. We know that encouraging cycling is important to the Mayor and the boroughs so prioritising the provision of secure parking seems like a no-brainer, particularly as we know it’s a huge barrier for people starting out. 

“It’s a shame that there’s such a postcode lottery for having a safe place near home to leave your bike – everyone deserves equal access. There are innovative ways to address the backlog and we urge every borough to look hard at these waiting lists and to deliver what is needed as quickly as possible”.

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