When I first moved to Bristol in the mid-90’s there was nowhere to lock your bike. Railings, lamp posts or gates seemed all that was available to the cyclist. I am sure many of you reading this remember the frustrating search for somewhere secure to lock a bike - which could often be quite a distance from the desired destination.
Over the years, the situation has improved dramatically. Cycling City invested heavily in improving on-street cycling parking; in central Bristol, at least, and increasingly most public buildings have at least some cycle parking. The new Oncology hospital building at the bottom of St Michaels Hill has a particularly impressive number of stands installed. Frustratingly though, some parking has recently been removed too: M-Shed, for example, in its attempts to discourage people from cycling along the tramlines has removed its cycle parking altogether, rather than relocating it to a better site.
Overall though, progress is being made. In parallel to the investment in on-street parking, the Council has supported Life Cycle’s “Take a Stand” scheme for many years, which enables us to support smaller organisations to install parking on their premises, so that staff or clients can cycle to such venues knowing there will be somewhere secure to park their bike on arrival.
It’s hard to quantify how this much this has contributed to the growth in cycling, but I have no doubt that it has. If you know there isn’t anywhere to park your bike at a venue, then you are much less likely to cycle there, than if you know that when you arrive there will be something secure to lock your bike. Take a Stand isn’t just benefitting Bristol either. We have teamed up with Local Authorities across the region including Swindon, Bath and N. E Somerset, Bournemouth and Gloucestershire to install parking and over the last 10 years have helped over 1000 organisations to install 2722 stands.
Whilst things have improved beyond recognition in many of the areas we have been working in, there are still many communities that have few cycling facilities and could benefit from secure cycle parking for starters. So If you know of a community centre, small business, church, scout hut, school or similar in Bristol, B&NES, Swindon in need of some decent cycle parking then please tell them out Take A Stand and encourage them to apply for their free stands.