Friday 21 October 2016

Japanese-style multi-storey bicycle parking planned for Dublin

Underground bicycle parking in Japan. Photo: Getty
Underground bicycle parking in Japan. Photo: Getty
Underground bicycle parking in Japan. Photo: Getty
Underground bicycle parking in Japan. Photo: Getty
Multi-storey bicycle parking in Japan.

Japanese-style multi-storey bicycle parking will come into effect in Dublin within the next four years, a senior Dublin City Council engineer has said.

Dublin City Council is formulating plans for secure multi-storey bicycle parking which will both tackle bicycle crime and increase the number of spaces for bicycle parking.

Michael Phillips, Dublin City Council’s Director of Traffic and City Engineer said: “One of the issues with theft is we’re afraid we’ll lose the cyclists if it continues.”

“In Japan, there are dedicated multi-storey parks where you get a ticket and a machine takes the bike and parks it.”

“We would minimise the price of it. But if you want to secure your bicycle, then I’m sure you wouldn’t mind paying for the parking,” Mr Phillips added.

“It’ll be three or four years yet before the Japanese style parking happens. In the meantime, we’ll be trying to use existing car parks and use those spaces in the city. That will come on stream sooner. We’ll have negotiations with car park owners about it.”

“The price of land is at a premium but we’re trying to see can we use multi-storey car parks a bit better to actually provide safe places for bicycle parking because bike theft is a huge issue.”

Over the last 10 years, bike theft has increased by 227 per cent. Around 6,750 bicycles were reported stolen last year.

For the first time in Dublin city, a coordinated multi-agency think tank is working to tackle bike theft.

Dublin Cycling Campaign, gardai, Dublin City Council, the National Transport Authority, and trade websites, are exchanging ideas on how to reduce bicycle crime.

David Timoney from Dublin Cycling Campaign said: “You need a multi-agency group to look at the problem because there are so many angles to it.”

“First of all, a small change would make a difference, if we could record the details of every bicycle frame number, that would make a big difference - if we could encourage bike shops and websites to register the details of owners.”

“Also, over half the bikes stolen are from cyclists who are using chain locks and poor cable locks. ‘Soldsecure’ is a lock standard system set up by police in the UK – and they recommend that everyone should have a gold standard lock.”

“If people stopped using cable locks it would make a huge difference.”

The Dublin Cycling Campaign estimates that at least 20,000 bikes were stolen last year, and it is currently conducting a survey to try and uncover the correct figure.

“One of the problems is we don’t actually know how many bikes are stolen in Dublin each year. We estimate that it’s a multiple of the official figure but we just don’t know, and we’re working to try and get that figure,” Mr Timoney said.

He added: “Dublin is full for cars now, we can’t have more cars in the city if we’re to avoid gridlock, and planners understand that Dublin is full for cars so a few initiatives need to be brought in.”

 “There’s a big problem with underground parking in apartment buildings for bicycles. There are ‘wheel racks’ where you can’t lock your bicycle frame to the rack, so the thieves just undo the wheel and walk out with the bike.”

Last month, gardai announced that they are using ‘bait bikes’ fitted with GPS tracker devices in Dublin city centre to target bicycle thieves. The tracker devices will hopefully mean that the bike can be found and the thief identified and arrested.

 In Dun Laoghaire, gardai took inspiration from London’s Met police and fixed “information bikes” (renovated old bicycles which display information on how to safely lock your bike) to public bicycle racks.

“Between October 2014 and April 2015, there was a reduction of 25pc in bike theft in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown as a result of the info bike,” said Sergeant Kelvin Courtney from Garda Community Relations.

“The idea behind it is that you’re demotivating the offender.”

Only 10pc of bike owners are able to provide An Garda Síochána with the bicycle frame number, he said.

“We’re trying to get people to record their bicycle serial numbers as much as possible. We have hundreds of bicycles that we can’t give back to the owner because they don’t have the serial number recorded,” Sergeant Kelvin said.

“If we can get the number of people filling in the BIKE (Bicycle Information Key Essentials), and leave it in their wallet or email it to themselves, or take a photo of it on their phone, that would help.”

The facts:

 In 2014 

 34pc of all thefts were reported in Dublin City Centre, 

 40pc in the rest of the Dublin Metropolitan Region and 

 26pc outside of the Dublin Metropolitan Region.

 Twice as many bikes are stolen during the summer months, peaking  in July,August and September.

 Two Thirds of bikes are stolen from public places

 The most likely time is weekday afternoons

 One third are stolen from residential locations, houses, sheds,  gardens etc...

 The most likely time is overnight

Recommended steps to take to educe the impact of bike theft, as given by gardaí.

• ALWAYS double lock your bike, even at home

• USE quality locks, spend 10% - 15% of the value of the bicycle

• LOCK the bicycle to an immovable object

• Record your bicycle frame/ serial number - Take a photograph of  your bicycle

• Complete B.I.K.E Card (Bicycle Information Key Essentials) See  Garda Website

• ALWAYS report bike thefts to An Garda Síochána

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