In a bid to combat the rising wave of cycle thefts and alleviate the soaring demand for secure bike storage, victims and campaigners are taking to the streets of London, putting up 1,000 “lamppost laments” to draw attention to the urgent need for action.
The move comes as new research from the Clean Cities Campaign reveals a 28% increase in waiting lists for secure bike hangars over the past 18 months.
Despite a substantial portion of residents living in flats or apartments, Bexley, Harrow, and Hillingdon have lagged behind, failing to install any secure bike parking or storage facilities to date
The analysis, conducted by transport consultancy Steer for Clean Cities, indicates a growing demand for secure cycle spaces in the capital, with an additional 16,500 Londoners now on waiting lists since spring last year. Despite current plans to almost double the total provision to 70,000 by May 2026, at least 42,000 individuals across 22 boroughs will still find themselves on waiting lists. The research highlights a postcode lottery, with some boroughs progressing in the installation of new storage facilities while others, including Harrow, have yet to implement any at all.
Clean Cities is urging the Mayor of London to allocate a £40 million fund to support boroughs in eliminating waiting lists and ensuring that cycle storage is strategically deployed where it is most needed. A recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request revealed that Transport for London (TfL) has funded only 1,000 spaces since 2021, falling short of the Mayor’s commitment to increase the number of secure cycle hangars. TfL has the potential to reduce deployment costs by collaborating with boroughs to identify cost-effective solutions for different housing types and making bulk orders of storage.
Six boroughs – Barking & Dagenham, Croydon, Islington, Lewisham, Newham, and Sutton – are projected to meet the current demand by 2026, but waiting lists will persist, more than doubling the planned rollout in various areas.
Oliver Lord, Head of UK at Clean Cities Campaign said: “If our city leaders want to help Londoners jump on a bike and use their car less then they have to make it as easy as possible, including providing somewhere safe to store it. We are seeing a burgeoning demand for secure cycle storage across the capital that far exceeds supply and Londoners won’t be surprised to learn that getting hold of a secure cycle space near their home is very dependent on the borough in which they live.
“So many Londoners want to cycle but are put off by the threat that their bikes will be stolen or they simply don’t have the space inside their homes. A £40 million fund from the Mayor of London would boost the progress being made and go a long way to ending the long wait for thousands of Londoners and the unfair distribution of secure cycle storage”.
With around 20,000 bikes, approximately 50 per day, being reported stolen annually in London, there is an urgent need for additional storage. The actual figures may be higher due to underreporting of bike thefts. Despite this, the introduction of bike hangars and secure spaces shows positive signs of improvement. Clean Cities is encouraging Londoners to share their bike theft stories using hashtags like #StolenDreams and #ThisisAwkward, collaborating with the grassroots campaign Stolen Ride to support victims in reclaiming their stolen bikes
Richard Cantle, Founder of grassroots group Stolen Ride said; “Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a house with a garage, secure metal garden shed or have a secure monitored cycle hub on their doorstep. In fact, according to the 2021 Census, 54% of Londoners do not live in houses. If there is no provision for cycle parking at their residence, or very nearby, then they are stuck without cycle hangars. They have to either risk their bike being locked outside, struggle with a bike inside, or not cycle at all…
“Stolen Ride supports this campaign and urges all London boroughs (and beyond) to acknowledge immediate and future cycle parking needs, alongside the overall benefits of cycling, by increasing the number of end-to-end secure cycle parking solutions.
“Cycle hangar space fees should be strongly subsidised where needed and cycle hangar planning factor in the costs to families, the mixed cost structures across London boroughs, accessibility and non-standard cycles”.