Oxford residents have hit out at a county council scheme to install bike hangars on their street, with claims the bicycle storage facilities are "discriminatory" to disabled people and look like "pigsties".
The backlash, reported by the Oxford Mail, comes after Oxfordshire County Council installed the hangars in three streets following a consultation, the scheme supported by Thames Valley Police who say the locations were specifically selected for areas that suffer from high levels of bike theft.
As with schemes in other parts of the country, the hangars allow residents to rent a spot, offering secure bike storage for people who otherwise might not be able to house their bike in their home.
However, despite the hangars being approved following a consultation with residents, some who live on the streets where they have been installed are not impressed.
One image published by the Mail shows a resident using a wheelchair unable to use the pavement due to a wheely bin being placed on the footpath next to the hangar, the feet of the bike storage facility sat a few inches onto the pavement.
"If the pavement is blocked by a wheely bin, then I cannot get through," 70-year-old Peter Carter told the local press. "This is blatant discrimination against a disabled person."
He suggested the hangars could "jeopardise people's safety" by forcing parents with pushchairs into the road, and said the fact they overlap onto the pavement will have a "major impact" for him trying to find dropped kerbs to access the road in his wheelchair.
Another resident said the hangars looked like "pigsties" and are "hideous".
"This is meant to be a conservation area and the council has installed pigsties," she said, also raising concerns the hangars could become a target for thieves.
A third resident said she had lived on the street for 32 years and the hangars are "totally out of keeping" with the street's architecture and would prevent her mother, who has severe mobility issues, from visiting due to the blocked access to her house.
The council is now investigating the concerns about the impact the hangars may have on footway widths.
"The hangars were installed following approval at the county council’s Cabinet Member Decisions meeting in December 2021 following a consultation with both residents and stakeholders," a spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council explained.
"A total of 102 responses to the consultation were received and all of these were presented to the cabinet member as they made the decision to approve the location and installation of the hangars."
The complaints mirror those heard in other parts of the country, locals regularly taking to the local press to complain about lost parking spaces and the 'ugliness' of the hangars.
In Bath, residents dubbed them "green measles" and claimed they could threaten the city's Unesco World Heritage status, despite Unesco's website noting the site "remains vulnerable to transport pressures", with "improved transport" based around public transport and pedestrianisation part of the management plan to protect the city's integrity and authenticity as a World Heritage site.
And while cycling is not mentioned explicitly, the advised shift to walking and a "bus-based network" implies the "need for improved transport" will not be answered by overdependence on car use.
In Brighton too, locals went as far as to say they were "concerned and distressed" by the appearance of a "giant ugly" bike hangar.
The situation caused so much contention that residents were ultimately "threatened with police" after "surrounding" contractors tasked with installing one of the hangars.
Not long after, the council said it had appeared a large vehicle had crashed into the controversial hangar "deliberatley" blocking car parking spaces.
Even the Sun newspaper got involved, publishing a story saying the "council's 'woke' £500K scheme to scrap parking spaces for cycle hangars had left drivers fuming".
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.