Bicycle Association hosts conference ahead of new National Cycle Crime Strategy

A new National Cycle Crime Strategy is being developed and will cover a wide range of issues such as locks, locking facilities, lock education *(1), bicycle marking and registration, insurance conditions, re-sellers and crime hotspots. The BA is co-coordinating the cycle industry contribution to this process.

In early November the Bicycle Association drew together a number of parties to host it’s first conference on cycle security. It was attended by representatives of the police, bicycle industry, insurance companies, bicycle storage manufacturers and bicycle marking/registration schemes.

Here is a summary of the key speakers and contributions:

Speaker: Will Norman – Walking and Cycling Commissioner for London

The importance of cycling for London, but also major cities such Bristol, Manchester, Edinburgh was outlined. Cycling boosts local shop spend and is important for liveable, healthy cities. In London, there are now 700k daily journeys by bicycle, with increasing focus on space for cycling & junctions, the aim is to double cycle trips by 2024. 

Bicycle security is crucial as key reason for people to stop cycling is theft. 50% stop forever after theft, 20% stop temporarily, 10% reduce cycling. TfL estimate this means around 10k fewer journeys/day. Three areas where the bicycle industry contributes to theft reduction were highlighted:

MARKING – there is a need to make the process more efficient and increase the take up of bicycle marking. Options for registration at point of sale and/or or at point of service (to capture much of existing active cycling fleet) were discussed.

LOCKS – there is an issue around the use of ineffective locks and a need for rider education about good locking practice.

BIKE PARKING – needs to allow for good locking. TfL are now mapping all bicycle parking across London.

Speaker: Supt Mark Cleland – British Transport Police, National Police Lead on Cycle Crime

UK CYCLE THEFT STATISTICS:

  • 90-100k/year are reported to police.
  • But the estimate rises to 300k pa when considering data from from crime surveys. 
  • There are hotspots around universities and city centres.
  • Per head of population hotspots are City of London, Cambs, Thames Valley, Humberside, Hampshire.
  • More thefts may be counted under domestic burglary so not included in these figures.
  • Large proportion of thefts are from sheds etc. 

Police work around re-seller platforms like Gumtree, Ebay, Facebook Marketplace, Cash Converters was outlined.

The case for a National Registration Scheme was outlined. There are many existing schemes e.g. Bikeregister, Datatag, Halfords in-house scheme, Immobilise are operational. However the police, retailers and consumers needs a single database where they can look up a bike quickly (such as currently exists in the mobile phone sector).

The case for a universal marking scheme was discussed *(2)

Speaker: Dave Luscombe – MCIA and Datatag

The Motorcycle industry was in a similar position in 2011. People were giving up riding due to theft. A bike-marking registration scheme was started in 2012. For the motorbike scheme, the industry association sets price and structure. The scheme is voluntary but all significant players participated once the first major brands joined. Now any police officer can query the database. Also now Highways Agency and PCSOs. Motorbike thefts have halved as a result (noteably many scooter makers don’t take part and theft of scooters remains high).

Speaker: Millie Quickenden – Bikeregister

Bikeregister is free for cyclists and police. Bike shops are encouraged to add bicycles as they sell them at POP. 

Speaker: Jeremy Green- Falco

The cost of various types of cycle parking facilities were outlined, which vary from just £15 for basic ‘Sheffield Stands’ but can run into £,000’s for cicy centre hubs with CCTV.

In terms of standards/regs, it was stated how in DE/DK/NL all parking must meet ‘FietsParkeur’ standards  However in the UK, with no minimum legal standard and also also quality requirement within building regulations, many cycle stalls are poor quality and often not used.

Speaker: Nick Green – Ecocycle

Automated underground parking is common feature in Japan, where it was invented. Although there is little theft problem – it is aimed more at cleaning up parked bikes from ‘littering’ the urban environment. But, it also solves the issue of component theft and offers the convenience of being able to leave lights/bottles etc on the bike.

Next Steps: Steve Garidis – BA

The Bicycle Industry will be invited, via the BA, to comment on the draft National Plan when it is released and the BA will convene future discussions in new year. Stores, brand owners, distributors and manufacturers in the cycle industry are encouraged to contact Steve Garidis (steve@bicycleassociation.org.uk) at the BA if they wish to contribute or assist.

 

Notes

(1) Peter Eland – BA: Note that National Standards for cycle training were recently revised , new version will have locks education module included from Level 1 (where child riders start). This has not yet been implemented in Bikeability modules but will be soon.

(2) Peter Eland – BA – there is no fixed format for bicycle frame numbers in any standards, just a requirement that each frame must be individually numbered. But there is no guarantee that these numbers are unique across brands. With 95% of UK cycles imported, it would require some fairly firm measures to ensure all imported frames had a fixed-format, unique frame number. Maybe more practical to rely on additional labels/markings.]

 

 

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