Lincolnshire County Council says a Cyclehoop bike rack in the shape of a car will remain in Market Deeping, despite suggestions that it is somehow unsightly. The car-shaped rack, which can hold 10 bikes in a space that would otherwise be occupied by just one car, was only moved to the town after its removal from nearby Holbeach following complaints from locals that it was impossible for people to park “their actual real cars” next to it.
Lincolnshire County Council has bought 20 Cyclehoop Car Bike Ports using emergency active travel funding from the Department for Transport (DfT).
The design is meant to highlight the number of bikes that can be stored in a single car parking space, but when one was put up in Holbeach, many seemed unaware that bikes are ridden by human beings who often spend money in shops.
One unnamed local business owner said: “I’m all for greener travel but we’re on our knees thanks to coronavirus.
“We need all the help we can get and that includes encouraging people to come and spend their money. Car parking has always been an issue in the town so what do the council do? They make it even harder to park your car.”
Others said similar things and the upshot was that the bike rack was removed within 24 hours of being installed.
The Cyclehoop rack was instead moved to the town of Market Deeping where Lincolnshire Live reports that it has again been attracting comment.
“It does not look smart in a heritage village,” said town councillor, Chris Davis, addressing local county councillor Rosemary Trollope-Bellew. “As a member of [Market Deeping Town Council] we were actively encouraging more bike storage provision but had clearly stated to you not to place that style in Deeping.”
On Facebook, one resident said: “Nothing wrong with the concept and encouraging cycling but surely there must be a more appropriate design in keeping with our lovely Deeping?”
Another said: “It’s dreadful. No problem with the council increasing cycle parking, but it doesn’t need to be at the expense of a car parking space, which are already in such short supply in the town centre.”
However, it was also pointed out that the rack was, “No worse than having to look at parked cars everywhere because people can’t be bothered to walk or cycle into the centre.”
Councillor Trollope-Bellew agreed with Davis’s complaint, saying: “I think that it needs to blend in with the surrounding and this I feel does not. Rather too modern for the marketplace and in the wrong place.”
She asked that it be removed, but Councillor Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said it should be given a chance.
“The changes are all on a trial basis – if they work they’ll stay and if they don’t we can rethink. But for a fair trial it should be in place longer than a couple of days.
“I understand there are concerns about the shape of the new bike parking, but we’ve also had a fair amount of positive feedback for bringing the extra facility into the town. It would be remiss of us just to remove it again so soon – especially as we’ve already seen the new rack in Market Deeping being used by visitors to the town centre.
“These types of cycling parking have been used elsewhere, including in Lincolnshire, without issue. But if there’s still concern about the shape of the bike rack in a few months, we can look again at moving it elsewhere.”
The founder and owner of Cyclehoop, Anthony Lau, commented: "The Car Bike Port was designed to generate conversation about how we travel in our cities and to highlight how much road space is given to motorised vehicles.
“It is funny to hear people complaining about a bike rack in the shape of a car, when in reality our streets are cluttered with cars and massive 4x4s. By giving up the parking space for one person you can provide parking for 10 cyclists who will spend much more money on the high street than a single driver would.
"Over the recent months, I have noticed more and more traffic congestion in my local town as people avoid public transport due to the Coronavirus. Many of these trips can be taken by bicycle and it is vitally important we provide more cycle infrastructure to encourage people to make this switch, otherwise our cities will be clogged up with car traffic and the air pollution it brings."