Businesses throughout Wales will need to start to “think bike” and consider how they can provide safe and secure bicycle facilities at work with the expected growth in commuters cycling, according to a Mid Wales company.
Cycle retailers have seen a 192 per cent increase in bicycle sales since the coronavirus lockdown and both the Welsh and UK governments are advising people not to use public transport where possible. This has seen an increase in cycling and as lockdown regulations ease and people return to work, many are expected to turn to cycling in Welsh towns and cities.
According to Robert Hawgood, Managing Director of Landmark Street Furniture based at Caersws, near Newtown, Powys, most existing business premises and residential developments are ill-prepared for the growth in cycling as an alternative to public transport.
“Cycling is set to increase significantly as more commuters turn to it as an alternative to trains and buses. This is in addition to the increased numbers purchasing bikes for leisure and exercise,”
said Mr Hawgood, who leads Landmark, a supplier and installer of bespoke cycle storage and street furniture products.
“However, while the investment in cycle route infrastructure increases, the majority of existing business premises and residential developments are lacking secure cycle storage.
“Cyclists not only want safe routes to get to work and home, they want secure places to store their bikes. Some businesses already have small areas for locking bikes, but these will be inadequate for the increase in cyclists.”
The UK Government has committed to an emergency active travel fund of £250m to create pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cyclists as part of the first stage of £2bn investment from a £5bn commitment for cycling and buses.
The Welsh Government is expected to place a higher level of investment in cycling routes as part of its commitment to sustainable transport.
Cities including London, Birmingham, Leicester, Bristol, Sheffield and others are already setting up temporary cycle paths before permanent routes are created.
The increase in cycling has been highlighted with a 192 per cent jump in sales since lockdown began, according to some retailers.
Mr Hawgood said that while many new office and multiple occupation residential developments were incorporating such storage, there would be a need to retrofit such facilities in existing properties.
In the past cyclists have resorted to locking their bikes to lampposts, public seating and railings close their work, railway stations and shops. This has caused problems for councils and property owners, as well as providing easy access to thieves.
The alternatives include cycle racks, shelters, wall brackets and stands. There is also an increase in demand for scooter stands as more people turn to this mode of transport.
“There are wide range of cycle rack and storage solutions that will fit into most urban and building environments. These range from the traditional cycle hoops to two-tier cycle racks that save space,” said Mr Hawgood.
“In addition, there will be significant demand for storage in public areas. With more cycle routes comes the need for cyclists to be able to store them in town centres, parks and other destinations they will arrive at, including such places as tourist attractions.”
Landmark Street Furniture works with architects, landscape architects, contractors, civil engineers and property owners and developers on bespoke street furniture and cycle storage solutions.
The company projects have included schools, colleges, universities, shopping centres, multi-use office/residential developments, retail, industrial, transport infrastructure and public realm areas.