Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Railway manager says no bikes have been stolen after cycle rack cut in two – but insists cyclists should continue to use the racks to prevent children “being knocked over”

Cyclists using the café at Bitton Station have expressed concerns about locking their bikes out of sight after photos emerged of the vandalised rack

A railway station manager has said that no bikes have been stolen from a nearby carpark, despite concerns raised by cyclists after one of the council’s cycle racks was cut in two by vandals.

Mark Simmons, a manager at Avon Valley Railway, says that all cyclists should continue to lock their bikes using the provided racks at or near Bitton Railway Station’s café, a popular stop for riders using the off-road Bristol and Bath Railway Path, Bristol Live reports.

However, while Simmons insists that using the racks will prevent children from “being knocked over”, cyclists have expressed concerns about leaving their bikes unattended and out of sight after photos emerged online of a bike rack near the station, provided by Sustrans, which appeared to have been sawn through by potential thieves.

While bike thieves have commonly used angle grinders to cut through locks, we reported earlier this year that in London they now appear to be resorting to cutting through entire racks, a practice which seems to have already spread to Bristol and Bath.

London bike rack (u/Creative-Ad-7886/ Reddit)

> "Welcome to London" where thieves cut through bike racks

One cyclist, Guy Buckland, said that he will no longer risk leaving his bike at the station following the brazen act, which was reported by local cyclists on social media last week.

“The people at Bitton station are lovely and it’s a great place. But you can’t use the café and be able to see your bike,” he said.

“Given how easy bike theft is these days I wouldn’t risk it, especially now one of the racks has been sawn through.”

Speaking to Bristol Live, Avon Valley Railway’s Simmons noted that the cycle rack in question isn’t on the station’s land, but on the main council carpark and managed by active travel charity Sustrans.

“It’s a shame it’s happened and we have no idea how or why it’s happened, I believe it was sawn through,” he said.

> Cyclist fights off moped gang bike thieves armed with angle grinder

However, Simmons says that cyclists should continue to use the racks for safety reasons at the station, and that there have been no reports of thefts.

“What we have found on occasion is that children can get knocked over so what we are asking cyclists to do is put their bikes in [the car park] rack or the set of racks on our property. It helps to avoid any issues with little kids being knocked over,” he said.

“We are conscious that some cyclists have fairly expensive bikes and we always encourage cyclists to bring a bike lock. We are not aware of bikes being stolen from here, it’s more of a fear. We are only here in the daytime.”

The station’s management also pointed out that the layout of the station ensures that it is difficult to make parked bikes more accessible and visible to their owners, but that during daylight hours bikes that are locked to the racks should not be at risk.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokesperson added: “One of our officers will visit and make an assessment on the extent of any damage and see if repairs are required.”

> Sustrans blames thefts and vandalism for slowing progress on Bristol and Bath Railway Path works

The targeting of a bike rack at Bitton station isn’t the first time that thieves and vandals have negatively affected the Bristol and Bath Railway Path.

Last May, we reported that “a significant number of signs and fencing” had been stolen or destroyed on the cycleway, slowing progress on changes to a two-mile section of the path.

Sustrans, who are leading the redevelopment, said at the time that it was “working with the police” after thefts and vandalism left “no signage in place at two locations, and a lot of damage to be repaired”.

The vandalism resulted in the slowing of construction work and confusion amongst path users, with a section of the route, between Easton Community Centre and Johnsons Lane, being used by cyclists and pedestrians despite officially being closed.

Thefts of signs over the bank holiday weekend in early May meant riders were missing the diversion and encountering a barrier at the Johnsons Lane exit of the path.

Ryan joined road.cc in December 2021 and since then has kept the site’s readers and listeners informed and enthralled (well at least occasionally) on news, the live blog, and the road.cc Podcast. After boarding a wrong bus at the world championships and ruining a good pair of jeans at the cyclocross, he now serves as road.cc’s senior news writer. Before his foray into cycling journalism, he wallowed in the equally pitiless world of academia, where he wrote a book about Victorian politics and droned on about cycling and bikes to classes of bored students (while taking every chance he could get to talk about cycling in print or on the radio). He can be found riding his bike very slowly around the narrow, scenic country lanes of Co. Down.

Add new comment

10 comments

Avatar
Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
0 likes

I wonder if Mr Simmons has ever had his house burgled? Maybe he should leave his front door open and see what happens.

Also - What would be the theft insurance implications should you lock your bike to a demonstrably and reported non secure rack?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
0 likes

Mungecrundle wrote:

I wonder if Mr Simmons has ever had his house burgled? Maybe he should leave his front door open and see what happens. Also - What would be the theft insurance implications should you lock your bike to a demonstrably and reported non secure rack?

I don't think insurance companies bother investigating claims of stolen bikes, so as long as you declare that your bike was locked up in a secure bike parking area, they'll probably just pay out. Maybe this is part of an insurance scam where unscrupulous cyclists can lock up an old unwanted bike to be stolen and then claim the money to buy a nice shiny new one?

Avatar
Mungecrundle replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

I saw this the other day and thought you might like it. From the collection of weird shit at Sudeley Castle.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Mungecrundle | 1 year ago
1 like

Mungecrundle wrote:

I saw this the other day and thought you might like it. From the collection of weird shit at Sudeley Castle.

Excellent - another one for my collection

Avatar
Ride On | 1 year ago
4 likes

Bike rack sawn in half by vandals? Vandals smash bus shelters or phone boxes. Thieves cut bike racks in half - either so they can Nick a bike now or later. Either way yould be mad to leave your bike locked up there.

Avatar
RoubaixCube | 1 year ago
9 likes

What he means to say is no bikes have been stolen THAT HE KNOWS ABOUT

Avatar
Backladder | 1 year ago
9 likes

Not sure how a parked bike can knock a child over?

Avatar
chrisonabike replied to Backladder | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm mostly with you - sometimes people with responsibilities get spooked.  Also sporadic incidents sometimes cluster.  (I think there's some "chaos theory" maths behind this - although it could also be explained by the rare attracting much scrutiny and bad things happening to kids being extremely salient).  OTOH "children" and the story might have "evolved" in the telling.  Children have even been known to dislodge gravestones onto themselves, sometimes leadling graveyards to lay monuments flat in case...

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Backladder | 1 year ago
3 likes

Backladder wrote:

Not sure how a parked bike can knock a child over?

They should just ensure that the children are wearing decent pedestrian helmets

Avatar
Backladder replied to hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
2 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

Backladder wrote:

Not sure how a parked bike can knock a child over?

They should just ensure that the children are wearing decent pedestrian helmets

or chain them to something solid, with high viz, and bells on!

Latest Comments