Why cages are not the answer to the ban

17 January, 2008 – 5:32 am

Station tries cages to ease peak bike ban (2008-01-15), The Age:

The cage [being trialled at Eltham] will allow cyclists to store their bikes in a secure area protected from the elements and will be easier to use than the large metal bike lockers found at other metropolitan stations.

The department has bought cages from Transperth — Western Australia’s public transport body.

More than 10 of the cages operate in Perth and findings show increases in the number of cyclists riding to stations and then catching the train to work.

Transperth’s cycling integration manager Jim Krynen said a car park survey found 60% of motorists drove less than two kilometres to their preferred station. And 40% had driven less than 800 metres to the station.

Mr Krynen said the cages had increased the rates of cycling to the station as “that short two-to-three-kilometre trip to the station is not a sweaty activity. It’s convenient and it adds to sustainability and the rider’s health.”

This is all very well and good, but it’s almost not even the same issue. The people who are affected by the bike ban will be a different set to those that start cycling because of new station storage facilities.

The BV website says

The current pilot program at Eltham Station, where a secure parking cage is being installed is a vital first step in moving toward this successful model. This facility is due to be completed in March 2008. We are also working toward a second pilot at South Geelong station.

Banning bikes from ALL peak-hour trains on ALL lines and ALL stations, and then merely TRIALLING more parking at just TWO stations in SIX MONTHS is a pretty poor trade-off I’d say.

They even contradict themselves with these two statements on a single page:

We believe that bicycles have a key role to play in reducing overcrowding on trains and congestion and our ride to work program is a key component of our strategy.

[…]Our highest priority is improved bicycle routes to public transport stations so people can ride to the station.

If “Ride to Work” day is to be anything more than a gimmick then surely they must understand the need to make potential cyclists feel comfortable and accepted. Giving them a blanket ban that restricts their flexibility and makes them feel like a criminal is not going to encourage anybody.

Cages are the answer to something, but they don’t solve the problems at the heart of why this ban is wrong. By all means, install all the bike parking you want, but don’t act like that even comes close to providing a comfortable and reliable public transport system for all commuters.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.