Southwark Council has launched a Commonplace map to capture where demand for cycle hangars is. Add your suggestion to the map.

Many people find it difficult to store their bikes in their home. However, bike lockers and bike hangars are an increasingly popular way to safely park your bike. The following page explains how to get Southwark Council to install secure cycle parking on your street.

A typical street hangar

A typical street hangar

Before we go any further, it’s important to keep this simple.
The first rule of bike parking is: tell everyone about bike parking

The following page explains how to politely request that Southwark Council to install secure parking in your street. The most important thing is to show that there is lots of local support. Bike Hangars fit 6 bikes and lockers usually get installed in rows, so try to get at least 6 people to request parking. This shows the council that people will use it.

If you want to get cycle parking eventually then you can submit a request by yourself and wait for other people to do the same. However, your location is more likely to be prioritised if you have a lot of other people registering. If you can provide the Council with further evidence that your non-cycling neighbours support bike parking, that’s even better – a list of signatures, names and postcodes is excellent. Finally, if you copy your Councillors into emails requesting bike parking then they will know that it’s an issue worth funding. The process is explained in more detail in our short guide.

Why is Bike Parking important?

Having a convenient and secure place to store a bike encourages people to start cycling, cycle more often, and to cycle with friends and family.

For houses with more than one cyclist, especially in converted houses with shared hallways and no outside space, it can be difficult to fit everyone’s bike inside. For people living in flats, not everyone can carry their bike up multiple flights of stairs.

There are now a number of ways to solve this problem.

Lockers vs Hangars?

A bike hangar, like the one pictured here, is a securely lockable pod that fits six bikes and usually sits on the carriageway. Each hangar is only half the size of a car-parking space, so reassigning a single parking space enables up to 12 people to cycle.

A cycle locker is a bit like the lockers you get at school, but it’s larger, reinforced and for bikes. They can fit in a variety of places, whilst each locker is individually rented and stores one bike.

These have the fantastic potential to encourage more people to cycle. Southwark Council has started installing a number of bike hangars and lockers across the borough. Many of the residents who first asked for them were not active cyclists but said that they would cycle if only they had a safe place to keep a bike.

A typical bike locker

A typical bike locker

Until recently, Southwark Council has only installed individual steel lockers on its estates and at train stations. They are a tried and tested solution. If you rent a locker it’s yours, and you are the only person with a key. However, they are relatively expensive (around £800 each) and don’t work for everyone. You need to be reasonably tall and strong to use them, and they’re not big enough for tricycles or trailers. You also need to find somewhere to put it, such as against the wall of existing garages. You can find them on many of Southwark’s housing estates, and you can apply to rent one here or here.

Hangars are particularly helpful for providing secure storage in areas of older, dense housing, like terraced houses or blocks of flats. A hangar is essentially a locked metal cage you can park six bikes inside – it’s roughly as big as half a car. They can also be adapted to take trikes and trailers. Only the other people renting a space in your hangar would have access. So if you lived in a house with three cyclists, you might only be sharing it with one other house. Bike hangars have been used in the Netherlands for years. Southwark is installing a number at the moment, and you can apply to rent a space in one here.

What if turns out we’ve chosen the wrong place?

Both lockers and hangars are secured to the ground by bolts, so they can be moved if the initial location is problematic.

What about my neighbours?

You might be surprised how supportive your neighbours are. Most households in Southwark don’t own a car. So it seems sensible to allocate a small part of the available road space to parking bikes rather than cars. This way, instead of owning a car, they can use one or more of several options: public transport, supermarket delivery services, car clubs, walking and cycling.

More people cycling means less congestion on the roads and better air quality for all. Many people would like to cycle with friends and family. Others say that if it was easier to park a bike at home, they’d consider cycling to work. Renting a space in a locker or hangar costs £25 – £35 per year, which is less than a single tank of petrol or a month’s zone 1-3 travelcard.

Our guide tells you how to apply for secure cycle storage. If you want to just register your interest, it tells you what to do. If you want to put in a little bit more time, we have written a template application for Southwark Council’s ‘Cleaner, Greener, Safer’ scheme. This should get you parking faster. The deadline for each year’s “Cleaner Greener Safer” scheme is the beginning of November.