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Bike hangars look like "pigsties" and are "discriminatory to the disabled", disgruntled residents claim

The council project, backed by the police who hope it will help protect against bike theft, has not gone down well with some locals

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.

Bath bike hangar (Falco / Facebook)

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.

Brighton cycle hangar (credit - Brighton Active Travel)

 The situation caused so much contention that residents were ultimately "threatened with police" after "surrounding" contractors tasked with installing one of the hangars.

> Council "investigating" after driver outrage at cycle hangar "deliberately" blocking car parking spaces

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.

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32 comments

Avatar
mattw | 6 months ago
3 likes

Interesting comment from the @Wheels4Wellbeing:

Cycle hangers (or parking) should never impede pedestrian space - 2m clear pavement is required for accessibility. There should also be storage options for Disabled cyclists and others with non-standard cycles. #MyCycleMyMobilityAid

https://twitter.com/Wheels4Well/status/1695001705555935722

 

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Shades | 6 months ago
0 likes

The Bath NIMBY (aka CAVE, BANANA) alarm just went off; tbh it's worn out or someone's muffled it.

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carlosdsanchez | 6 months ago
0 likes

The positioning of the bike hanger is crap, but because the door open upwards you'd have to stick it a bit further out in the road to give the door clearance to open and clear the curb. The reason it's so far on the footpath is to avoid drilling into the curbstones I'd guess? Solution would be a bigger gap between the bottom of the door and the road so you could butt the hanger up to the curb and still open the door.

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cqexbesd replied to carlosdsanchez | 6 months ago
0 likes
carlosdsanchez wrote:

Solution would be a bigger gap between the bottom of the door and the road so you could butt the hanger up to the curb and still open the door.

Don't forget that it couldn't be allowed to block the gutter.

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mattw replied to carlosdsanchez | 6 months ago
4 likes

Solution is perhaps to put an extra row of kerbstones in the road with a gap for drainage, and put it on there.

Plus bollards at the outer corners to damage cars trying to hit it.

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Muddy Ford | 6 months ago
3 likes

Can't disagree with their ugliness and they do look like pigsties. Surely someone could design something better looking than these. I'd prefer cyclists parking than car parking, but which would change the value of my home more..several luxury brand vehicles outside my home or several pigsties? Try harder bike shed makers. They should also not require to be bolted to part of the pavement. 

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chrisonabike replied to Muddy Ford | 6 months ago
4 likes

Well there's always "invisible" residential cycle parking - if only there were a market for it... (yeah "change of use" - converted disused shop though? Also it's not unheard of to have flats above garages...)

https://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2017/10/31/home-side-bicycle-parking/

Also - if "ugly" was an issue as others have said just make 'em look like a car, or a large bin, or a skip or any other unremarkable street feature "in keeping" with any historic period...

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IanMK | 6 months ago
2 likes

I think something is a bit off with this story. Around here terraced houses don't normally have wheelie bins. The picture seems to show refuse sacks as well.

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Rendel Harris replied to IanMK | 6 months ago
9 likes
IanMK wrote:

I think something is a bit off with this story. Around here terraced houses don't normally have wheelie bins. The picture seems to show refuse sacks as well.

Yes, a quick skim through Streetview appears to show that the only houses on the three streets in question that have wheelie bins are the ones with off-street storage provision for them. Clearly the terraced houses that front the pavement have refuse sack collections; one can only assume that for the Oxford Mail's sadface photograph of the gentleman in a wheelchair blocked by the hangar/wheelie bin combination the wheelie bin was dragged a considerable distance from another property for a staged shot.

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brooksby | 6 months ago
4 likes

There's a wheelie bin left on the pavement next to a bike hangar so he'll blame the *bike hangar* for blocking the way? Doesn't really make sense - I'm sure the bin takes up far more space. But, as is so often the case, wheelie bins left on pavements are "normal" (common occurrences) whereas bike hangars are The New Thing Which Must Be Blamed.

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lonpfrb | 6 months ago
2 likes

Covering the pavement seems wrong as wheelchair and pram access is paramount. The photos appear to show available space on the roadway so this seems to be incompetent installation.

Personally I am concerned about the private property that blocks the road and encroaches on the pavement. That seems to be a general problem whatever the character of street.

I'm told that some countries require evidence of off-street space to keep private property before said property can be purchased. So it does not get left on a public highway. Wonderful!

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the little onion replied to lonpfrb | 6 months ago
2 likes

Japan is cited as the example of where you need a parking space before you buy a car

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cyclisto | 6 months ago
3 likes

I haven't been there with a measure tape but I think the design and placing of the shed is seriously wrong. I am a big guy and my bike with rear fender is 175cm long, so a bike shed with 200cm total outside width (that is the usual parallel parking lane width) could fit practically all bikes. This encroaches the sidewalk like 2 curb widths so if it the curb width is 15cm as usual, the shed takes around a foot of sidewalk space which is no little. With the big extruding handlebar things get even worse regarding clearance.

Admittedly if someone wants to park longer cargo bikes (that to be honest, are more suited to a bike shed, due to their weight), things obviously change, but in this case they could reserve a few spaces that are parallel to the the road.

So yes this sidewalk space stolen is both unecessary and annoying in not one of the widest sidewalks like the one in the photo. All these problems would have been solved with a properly dimensioned and placed bike shed.

Now these guys who say it looks like a pig house, will always exist. And I can say that they look like pigs themselves, but they are still allowed to be in our society, this is not a serious argument, so not too much attention should be given to them

 

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Ratfink replied to cyclisto | 6 months ago
1 like

This has been bugging me a bit since i posted earlier,My latest thought after reading your post is does anyone produce a cycle hanger that you park cycles in a parallelogram style? Then you'd have the same length for bikes but less width on the road without encroaching the pavement.

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chrisonabike replied to Ratfink | 6 months ago
1 like

Hmm... I suspect that would actually need extra space between bikes to compensate for the extra fiddle.   Probably then "too long".

However - there's a Renault van in one of my streetview pics.  Let's say that's a Traffic (I've no idea about cars), picking the smaller panel van model - the brochure says: 228 cm x 508 cm

Or a Renault Clio (with the doors closed obviously!) 199 x 405 cm

Cycle hanger (from here): 203 x 258 cm

I mean - smaller is often good but I really don't think that's the issue that's "blocking people" here either literally or metaphorically.

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Ratfink replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
0 likes

I've just realised the street you posted pics of is the wrong one it's Nelson St the pics are from (you can see the street name in the original article). Now i notice Cycle hanger do a 1/2 size hangar which to me would be better suited to that position but placed side on.

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chrisonabike replied to Ratfink | 6 months ago
1 like

The original article says they're on 3 streets - Nelson Street, Cranham Street and Great Clarendon Street IIRC. Think I've got the last two. Dunno which one road.cc have shown.

As others have said the placement of the hangar in the road.cc picture looks strange - partly on the footway.

All 3 streets are slightly different widths but all "narrow streets". As in - "if we allocate almost all the space to motor vehicles you'd struggle (or not be able in one case) to drive in both directions simultaneously" - the unspoken assumption being "... while *obviously* permitting parking on both sides".

But a hangar is within the width (and shorter than) modern vehicles...

If only we had some examples of cycling infra provision in "historic towns"...

https://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2009/01/assen-is-750-years-old.htm...

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mattw replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
0 likes

Renault Clios have door mirrors, which are more than the extra when folded.

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chrisonabike replied to mattw | 6 months ago
0 likes

* mustn't yield to temptation... w... w... argh! *

(I quoted the figure with them sticking out from their brochure.  But more to the point is that you need to open the door to get in - don't see enough Dukes of Hazzard entries and exits these days).

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mattw | 6 months ago
4 likes

Someone needs to start explaining the stats for how many mobility impaired disabled people use traditional cycles as their mobility aid.

And Cyclox need to hit Oxfordshire County Council over the head with the Cyclehoop Brochure showing the accessible (ie for trikes etc) version of those bike hangars, wrapped around a bollard.

Why is there not a proportion of these being used? Oxfordshire CC have an Equality Duty to provide equal access, which is set out in law.

 

Advice needs to be taken urgently from Wheels For Wellbeing, who are working with Cyclehoop.

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chrisonabike replied to mattw | 6 months ago
2 likes

Current rules are "cycles are not mobility aids" - and I imagine this will be stuck there.  Presumably the moment it gets raised it'll be "ah - but then everyone on a bike will claim that benefit and just e.g. cycle where they like.  How can we fairly tell?"

I don't think that's actually the biggie though, you could imagine some kind of blue badge scheme etc. - but I'm just not aware of anything that looks like changing on this one (basically any political interest)?

I'm pretty sure some folks have tried to get this considered - but given we're still awaiting the review of road crime law or whatever from 5? years back...

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mattw replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
6 likes

The point was made strongly in evidence to the current Transport Select Committee Enquiry by at least one disabled charities. Obvs the current Govt will do nothing because they are cynical arse-sitters.

Cycles are used as mobility aids, and there are certain e-trikes for example that are within the rules to be registered as I think Mobility Scooters. Some disabled and cycling access campaigners use the ambiguity creatively, being able to be in "cyclist" or "disabled pedestrian" mode at will.

I think if a disabled person asserts "this is my mobility aid", there is not a lot that can be done to counter the statement.

The invisible groups are disabled people using standard cycles, and disabled people who are kept locked in because they cannot access a non-standard cycle (cost etc).

There was also the distinction recently used for disabled people using cycles as mobility aids riding across Wandsworth Bridge pedestrian route whilst the deck was being replaced.

I'd say the plates are shifting on this, and we need to keep pushing - for example demanding a fraction of Cycle Hangars be the accessible variety for non-standard cycles such as trikes.

One thing I need is more data - in this piece campaigners are trying to pretend that disabled cyclists do not exist, whilst in reality many disabled people have no other option (medical exclusion from driving licenses).

I have data amongst surveys of disabled cyclists; I do not yet have it for disabled people amongst 'cyclists', nor for 'disabled cyclists' amongst 'disabled people'.

https://wheelsforwellbeing.org.uk/disabled-cycling-through-wandsworth-br...

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chrisonabike replied to mattw | 6 months ago
3 likes

That sign's cool - not seen one before.

Repeating myself but the truth is that (like most "accessibility" changes) everyone benefits if you put in good quality infra.  Even those who still "need to drive" since the biggest obstacle to driving is all those other drivers and their vehicles!

Of course we'll know when we're actually getting somewhere when we "cyclists dismount" signs are extremely rare.  I note we very rarely see "pedestrians - crawl under barrier" or "stop and exit your car to push button" etc.

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Rendel Harris replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
3 likes

It's very good that they are acknowledging some people need their bicycles as mobility aids, although the pedant in me says that it should either read "dismount unless using your bicycle as a mobility aid" or "dismount your bicycle unless it is a mobility aid", as it stands it says that only cyclists who are mobility aids can remain mounted…

There would be an argument to be had about semantics if challenged, wouldn't there? Aren't all bicycles mobility aids in that they assist the user in moving around more freely and more easily?

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chrisonabike replied to Rendel Harris | 6 months ago
2 likes
Rendel Harris wrote:

There would be an argument to be had about semantics if challenged, wouldn't there? Aren't all bicycles mobility aids in that they assist the user in moving around more freely and more easily?

Only if you've employed a "top road safety campaigner" as your brief...

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Brauchsel | 6 months ago
8 likes

I know they don't like two-wheeled solutions to problems, but have they considered looking at the bottom of the bin to see if there's a straightforward way its custodians could move it to somewhere that doesn't block the pavement?

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chrisonabike | 6 months ago
7 likes

I think it's discrimination.  I mean, look at those narrow footways.  Something has come along and taken 90% of the space, and is even (over double-yellows, not that they have any meaning apparently) encroaching on the footway.

But bikes... There is clearly space to park so there is space for a cycle hangar.  Looks like "but we want to be able to drive both directions AND park both sides".

Looking on the map / streetview I suspect this one needs a) a LTN treatment of this area - or even make this something like a Woonerf b) one-way only, with parking on one side of the street then the other* - and c) for the majority, if still feel they "need cars" some reserved space in a central parking location.

* The curving road is to cue drivers this is really "pedestrian / residential space" and they should be going dead slow, looking out for people in the road and not overtaking cyclists.  Parking should be available on a strictly "those with mobility needs first" basis.  It actually looks like parking is - or is supposed to be - already limited here?

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Ratfink replied to chrisonabike | 6 months ago
1 like

If you turn the street view round to look the other way there is plenty of room to build a little island with bike hangars on and leave the pavements free but of course that costs money.

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Cocovelo | 6 months ago
12 likes

No mention of the ignorant sod that left their bin out blocking the pavement. Somehow I don't think this is the first time a pavement has been blocked - usually it's because of C*RS

"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." Yes but Mr Carter do you complain when the pavement is blocked by a combination of c*rs and wheelie bins?

Another resident said the hangars looked like "pigsties" and are "hideous". Because c*rs are just so beautiful aren't they.

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IanMK replied to Cocovelo | 6 months ago
1 like

Perhaps when he complains about cars on pavements the msm aren't interested.

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