27 March 2019

Bike rack testing will mean better Science Area cycle parking

A group of University staff who get around Oxford by bike have spent time testing cycle racks all over town to identify the best ones and inform future decisions about bike parking.

Harriet Waters testing bike racksMore spaces for cycles are badly needed in the Science Area. Space is very limited, though, so providing them will involve moving to two-tier cycle racks, in which cycles are stored at head height as well as on the ground. These allow many more bikes to be parked in the same area, but can be harder to use.

A group of keen cyclists from departments including Estates Services and the Safety Office biked around the estate, trying out five different designs of two-tier bike rack and scoring them on criteria including ease of use and perceived safety. The results will be taken into account in future when making decisions about which bike racks to buy, and should ensure that any two-tier racks installed in the next few years are as safe and usable as possible. Until now departments have tended to choose cycle racks on an ad-hoc basis, leading to a lot of variation in the quality of facilities available in different places.

As the testing demonstrates, the University is committed not just to supporting staff and students in cycling around town safely, but also to providing safe and secure bike parking facilities at the end of their journeys (and during Ride to Work Week a free breakfast too! More details are available on the University's staff news site.)

The increase in cycle parking is part of wider plans to improve the Science Area, alongside initiatives including better landscaping, more trees and changes to car parking facilities. The proposals will be the subject of a consultation later in 2019 before anything goes ahead.