Worried about bike theft? Not happy about locking your ‘dearest’ to a railing? Well you can stop worrying now because there’s a new high tech solution at the ready. It’s about using a robot. Attach your bicycle to an automated rack and see it disappear (only momentarily) into a cylindrical vault underground. It will reappear when you need it again. This is thanks to scanning your smart card on a dedicated piece of software, which recognises the barcode printed on your frame and will retrieve your cycle safely.
It’s not reality yet. But it could be soon if Eco Cycle is allowed to forge ahead with its project, which was recently demonstrated at Southwark station.
According to Nick Knight, managing director of Eco Cycle, the cycle-to-work scheme (which allows employer to hire a new bike for a certain amount of time and then buy it for a fraction of the cost) has encouraged people towards buying expensive bikes. Nobody wants to park their expensive model without the assurance of being able to find it at the end of the day. According to Knight, secure cycle parking is something that could convince more people to leave the car at home and start pedalling.
The police-approved Bike register scheme helps fight crime. Put your postcode onto www.bikeregister.com and you’ll be able to see how many bikes have been reported stolen and where. The bad news is that there is no place safer than any other. You can also add your bike details to the police database, buy a marking kit to mark your bike with an ID and help the police to trace your bike in case of theft.
With so many cyclists around, there need to be more bike racks.. Transport for London has not yet caught up with the increasing need from cyclists. But something is moving: bike sheds have recently been installed at Walthamstow Central and Leytonstone stations, as part of the so-called Mini Holland Scheme (modelled on similar Dutch schemes, hence the name), a £30 million project which should encourage cycling and walking through the introduction of segregated cycle superhighways, road closures and 20mph zones.