A report by the House of Commons Transport Committee has urged the government to accelerate the integration of other forms of transport with the rail network to get fewer people using their cars, but cyclists’ organisation CTC warns that in order to achieve this, “substantial investment” is needed in cycling infrastructure at railway stations, such as providing access to cyclists as well as bicycle parking, hire and storage facilities.
Roger Geffen, CTC Campaigns and Policy Director, said: “Currently cycle parking provision at most stations is woefully inadequate, with many cyclists having to lock their bikes to railings and lampposts. Secure cycle parking would also reverse the increase in bike theft at railway stations and would actually encourage many more people to cycle to the station.”
CTC also called for sufficient bicycle parking to be put in place for 5% of rail travellers, compared to the current level of 1.6%.
According to CTC, Britain’s busiest 88 railway station would need to have 125,000 spaces available, compared to just 8,000 at present. The shortfall is even more acute at 14 stations in Central London, claims CTC, where the current 1,365 spaces would need to be increased to 67,612, a fifty-fold increase.
Despite the huge increase in spaces required, CTC believes that the target is “achievable,” pointing out that Mayor of London Boris Johnson intends to make available a further 66,000 spaces to be made available at the capital’s railway stations, and highlighting the experience of the Netherlands, where one in three railway journeys involve a bike ride to or from the station, and bike parking is commonly provided for one in ten of a city’s population.
Even those stations where bike parking provision nears the 5% target need some attention, according to the CTC’s full response to the DfT's recent Better Rail Stations report, pointing out that since cities such as Oxford and Cambridge already have elevated levels of cycle usage, demand for spaces at those stations is higher than elsewhere and bike racks are often full to overflowing.
The full response, which can be found here, lists Britain’s busiest stations (Category A) and next busiest in terms of traffic (Category B stations) by the ratio of bike parking spaces currently provided compared to 5% of daily passenger numbers. Complete tables can be found in the CTC response document, but the top five and bottom five stations in each category (excluding five Category A and eight Category B stations that have no bike parking provision whatsoever) are:
Category A Stations Cycle 5% of passenger/ ratio Top 5 Spaces 2009 day 2008 York 446 895 2 Bristol Temple Meads 340 970 3 Liverpool Lime Str 200 601 3 London Kings Cross 332 3,374 10 London Paddington 276 4,000 14 Bottom 5 London Liverpool Str 119 7,916 67 London Waterloo 200 13,740 69 London Bridge 100 7,414 74 B'ham New Street 24 2,344 98 London Victoria 84 10,611 126 Category B Stations Cycle 5% of passenger/ ratio Top 5 Spaces 2009 day 2008 Oxford 616 646 1 Cambridge 748 959 1 Liverpool South Parkway 32 58 2 Didcot Parkway 166 331 2 Basingstoke 266 630 2 Bottom 5 Bromley South 30 861 29 Shenfield 12 414 35 East Croydon 62 3,195 52 Richmond (Greater London) 16 913 57 Clapham Junction 25 2,723 109
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.