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.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.