Photo: Richard_of_England
Photo: Richard_of_England

By Zoe Hatiantoniou

In 2008 Greater Bristol was selected as England’s first cycling city, receiving an investment of 11 million from the Department for Transport for the transformation of cycling throughout the city. However, as the number of cyclists increase, so have the concerns regarding the safety of individuals and the security of their bicycles.

The most recent bicycle theft took place on the 14th January in Bridgeyate. Thieves broke into a house on Bath Road and also escaped with jewellery and other valuable items. There have also been various other incidents of bicycle theft at UWE.

The worst cases of theft took place on the 13th October, 2009 from various locations across UWE. It was noted that at least seven bicycles were missing and perhaps more.

The advice that has been provided by the University of Bristol Estates Office Transport Plan aims to ensure the safety and security of individuals and their bicycles. This advice includes: appropriate training, ensuring that helmets are properly worn, being seen and heard at all times when cycling, being alert as well as knowing one’s route. Even though it is legal to cycle without a helmet, it is advisable to always wear one.

In 2009 the Avon and Somerset Police Neighborhood Team were at the Avon Valley Railway Station offering to security-mark bicycles. They were also providing information to cyclists. Even though the advice they offered may be considered outdated, it is relevant and outlines that it is sensible to: invest in a high quality lock, lock their bicycles to an anchor plate in a locked shed while not in use or to lock the bicycle to an immovable object such as a lamp post and ensure that the lock secures the wheel as well as the frame. Cyclists should also register the bicycle with www.immobilise.com.

This could prove beneficial since bicycle theft is considered a severe problem on Frenchay Campus.
Research has identified that since cyclists are increasing in numbers a bicycle is stolen every 65 seconds.

On the 3rd January, 2013 Avon and Somerset Police published advice aimed at the safety of young people as well as for the security of their bicycles. It advises that bicycles should be equipped with lights that are essential once dusk has fallen. A lack of lighting is illegal and will gain cyclists a fixed penalty notice (a fine). A cyclist should also be equipped with reflectors and fluorescent clothing, allowing the cyclist to be seen by other cyclists and vehicles.

It is also important for cyclists to register their bicycles on bikeregister.com. This is because once registered, if a bicycle is stolen, it is more likely that it will be traced. This registration will also act as a method of preventing the theft of bicycles.

Most importantly, the bicycle should be locked at all times preferably in a locked garage or a shed out of view. If possible, it should be parked in the sight of a CCTV camera and it is desirable to lock it in a specific bike park. Cyclists should avoid locking bicycles in the same place on a regular basis to prevent the possibility of the bicycle being stolen.

It is also advisable for owners to take a photograph of their bicycle and write a clear description of it for their own records.

If this advice is followed, cyclists should be able to cycle safely and maintain their bicycles securely. This could result in Bristol maintaining its reputation as a cycling city, attracting other cyclists to take on this enjoyable activity.

The best websites for cycling equipment include: cling.org.uk or www.sustrans.org.uk.