An Edinburgh cyclist has raised the alarm about bike thefts after seeing one of the city's cycle racks, installed as part of the Trams to Newhaven project, unusable having been seemingly easily unscrewed from the ground.
Edward Tissiman shared photos on social media of the cycle-parking facility, the middle of the five racks lying on its side with the attachments used to fix it to the ground next to it.
"It appears that a bike has been stolen at Dalmeny Street/Leith Walk," he warned. "The thief has just unscrewed the rack. Please share far and wide so no one else suffers this. If only someone had warned the Trams to Newhaven project, eh?"
The question came a month after, in another social media post, Edward had asked the council to confirm its bike racks were "immovable" as per his bike insurance provider's requirement that bikes are "securely locked to an immovable object". At the time, the Edinburgh cyclist speculated that the racks could be easily removed with an allen key, but never heard a response from City of Edinburgh Council.
My bike insurance only covers me if my bike is "securely locked to an immovable object". @TramstoNewhaven @edinhelp could you confirm that the bike racks installed on Leith Walk and elsewhere are immovable? @SpokesLothian @harts_cyclery @LeithCycleCo @esbikes @EdinburghBikes pic.twitter.com/xJTJHbhcQI
— Edward Tissiman (@edtiss) June 27, 2023
A little over a month later and the fears became a reality.
— Edward Tissiman (@edtiss) July 31, 2023
Responding to road.cc, City of Edinburgh Council was keen to point out it had not received any report of the criminal damage resulting in a bike being stolen, and stressed the racks "meet the project's design requirements and use standard fixtures".
Councillor Scott Arthur, the council's transport and environment convener, told us: "The cycle parking installed as part of Trams to Newhaven meets the project's design requirements and uses standard fixtures. We have not had any report of a bike being stolen, but we are aware of unacceptable criminal damage to a bike rack.
"We will continue to remain vigilant and monitor the use of the bike racks, and work with police where appropriate."
Returning to the insurance question, Edward contacted his provider, Admiral, to ask for further clarification on whether locking his bike to one of the racks would keep his cover valid.
"An immovable object is," he was told. "A solid object that cannot be removed by lifting it under or over the object. A purposely designed fixed bike rack like those found in town centres, train stations etc. A purposely designed bike rack securely attached to a vehicle."
Definitions and terms will differ with other insurance providers, however Edward said, despite the second 'fixed bike rack' mention he had "been advised not to use them".
IMPORTANT: your insurance may not cover you if you use these racks. Much depends on the interpretation of an "immovable object":
"A solid object that the bike cannot be removed from by lifting it under or over the object"
I've been advised not to use them. https://t.co/hSRriMH68z
— Edward Tissiman (@edtiss) August 1, 2023
Back in June, cyclists in Leamington Spa raised similar concerns after discovering that new cycle stands at the entrance to Aldi could be lifted out of the ground.
Work to fix the stands was undertaken immediately, the supermarket told road.cc, while West Midlands walking and cycling commissioner Adam Tranter, who praised the facilities last year as an example of how it is "possible for supermarkets to do cycle parking right", also expressed disappointment at the pick-up-and-go bike stands, saying he "had such high hopes."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.