Number of stolen bikes up nearly 40% in last two years

Bicycle thefts in Oxford are running at their highest level for five years, according to Thames Valley Police, with 2,137 stolen in the year to April 2010, a 16.4% increase on the previous year.

According to BBC Oxford News, police have said that with more and more people cycling into Oxford, lack of suitable bike parking is one of the contributory factors, but Oxfordshire County Council claims that there is adequate provision in the university city.

Sergeant Claire Storry said: "There aren't adequate, secure places to park bikes. Bike parts are being taken by opportunists. If bits are easy to take off, and wheels are not secured, then they are easy to steal. They are also easy to sell on if people want to make money out of them."

But Councillor Arash Fatemian of Oxfordshire County Council disagreed, saying: "There is plenty of parking in the city. Many employers, both public and private, provide secure bike parking for employees. They might not necessarily be always in front of you, but I have always found somewhere to lock my bike."

Reported bike thefts in Oxford in 2009/10 were slightly more than the level seen in the 12 months to April 2006, when 2,107 were stolen. Within two years, that figure had fallen to 1,551 in the year to April 2008, but in the two years since then, the number of thefts has risen by 37.8%.

In a 2009 survey of cycle parking provision in the city, local cycling campaign group Cyclox reiterated calls it had made in a previous survey in 2009 for greater provision to be made in the city.

The survey, carried out in January 2009, identified 1,000 bikes parked either loose or secured to railings, and also highlighted the problem of abandoned bikes taking up space on existing facilities, with three in four bicycles on one bike rack, outside the Lamb & Flag pub on St Giles, being abandoned.

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.