Cycle hangars arrive in Oxford

Cycle hangars arrive in Oxford

By Alison Hill  

Alison is Chair of Cyclox

On 17 August three bike hangars arrived in Jericho: one in Cranham Street, one in Nelson Street and one in Great Clarendon Street. This followed a consultation lasting a month. They are the first hangars to be installed in Oxford. 

What are bike hangars?

Bike hangars are on-road cycle storage units. They can provide secure storage for six bikes. Each hangar takes up about two thirds of a standard car-parking place and is bolted to the road next to the kerb.

London boroughs are rolling out installation rapidly. There are an estimated 4,000 cycle hangars across London, but there is still a big waiting list, evidence that they are popular with residents.

They are useful in areas of higher-density housing where there isn’t space for bike storage on the property. Typically, this would be in streets with terraced houses where there is a lot of on-road parking.

Why Jericho?

Jericho is an example of such housing, with front doors opening directly onto the street. The residents of its many terraced houses either keep their bikes inside the house or leave them on the street locked to a lamppost, a drainpipe, or another piece of street furniture. 

More than half of all households in Jericho have no car and rely on cycling and public transport. Bike theft is a big problem for the community and is one of the key barriers preventing Oxford residents from taking up cycling. Often, people who have had their bikes stolen give up cycling, because they don’t want to risk losing their bike a second time.

The funding for the hangars comes from Thames Valley Police, which secured funds through the Home Office Safer Streets Fund. Secure cycle parking has been installed in both Jericho and East Oxford because of the high rate of cycle theft they both experience. The cycle parking in East Oxford uses the Streetpod, which provides secure parking, but open to the elements. Streetpods are a first-come first-served cycle-parking solution and do not require residents to pay to park their bikes, whereas bike hangars do.

Is there a down side?

The Oxford Mail reports that some residents are unhappy about bike hangars being installed on their streets and compare them in appearance to pigsties.

However, it is hard to see the beauty in cars parked bumper to bumper along every street. 

A bigger problem than appearance is that the hangars overlap the pavements, making already narrow pavements narrower. Cyclox among others has told the County Council this is not acceptable. In response the County says it will move the hangars in Nelson Street and Great Clarendon Street off the pavement and place them fully on the carriageway, removing pavement obstruction. The hangar in Cranham Street will be replaced with a mini-hangar, as a full-size hangar encroaches too much on the carriageway. The mini hangar can still accommodate four bicycles. It opens parallel to the kerb and will not obstruct the footway.

Want to give it a try?

If you are interested in renting a space in one of these bike hangars, or in getting one installed on your street, you can submit a request to Cyclehoop, the company managing them.

The price of renting a space has been set at less than the cost of parking a car in a controlled parking zone: £55 a year.

A quick check of the site shows that Nelson Street and Gt Clarendon Street hangars already have a waiting list. There is clearly unmet demand.

This is the start of a transformation in cycle parking and we will see many more such changes coming to Oxford in the next few years.