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Don't give thieves an easy ride:
Design against bicycle theft

See entries and final results for this brief here.

This project is a collaboration between the RSA, the Home Office and the Bikeoff 2 research project funded by AHRC/EPSRC ‘Design for the 21st Century’ initiative. The aim is to mobilise students to explore how design-led strategies for secure cycling can reduce the risk of cycle theft, increase cycle use and afford UK cities and citizens the benefits cycling has to offer.

Riding a bike can add nine years to a life (1) – better still it can make our cities a safer, healthier, cleaner and quieter place to live in!

Bicycles are quick (for journeys under 5 miles), healthy (reducing risk of obesity and heart disease), affordable (equality of opportunity), non-polluting (zero emission) and low hazard (less harmful than motor vehicles), placing cycling in a unique position to contribute to better health, fewer absences from work, reduced congestion and pollution and to save lives (2). There is also evidence to suggest that increased cycling would lead to mental health benefits, physical development benefits, social benefits, potential reductions in the number of accidents and even tourism opportunities (3).

In light of these facts, in 1996 the National Cycling Strategy set a target to quadruple cycle use by 2012. In 2004 this target was dropped as it was considered unattainable. Not only is it unlikely to be met, but according to the National Cycling Strategy Review, cycling activity has actually fallen over the past 10 years (4).

Cycle theft is the single greatest deterrent to cycle use after fears over road safety; secure cycle parking is identified as the second greatest enabler after provision of safe cycle lanes (5).

Research has shown that 17% of cyclists experience cycle theft, and of these 24% stop cycling and 66% cycle less often (6). If we are to achieve and sustain increased cycle use we must address the issue of cycle theft.

The Government accepts that to get more people cycling they must act to increase cycling infrastructure, including secure cycle parking, to reduce cycle theft. They are investing £140 million over the next 3 years to facilitate cycle use. The financial resources have been made available but if the benefits of cycling are to be realized design innovation must keep pace with capital investment.

1 Journal of American Medical Association, 2003, ‘Years of life lost due to obesity’
2 Valuing the benefits of cycling, A report to Cycling England, May 2007
3 Valuing the benefits of cycling, A report to Cycling England, May 2007
4 Department for Transport - Delivery of the National Cycling Strategy: A 5 review, March 2005
5 Department of the Environment transport and the Regions. 07/97:Supply and demand for cycle parking.
6 Transport Research Laboratory, 1997

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©2008 // DESIGN AGAINST CRIME RESEARCH CENTRE // LONDON WC1B 4AP fully funded by the AHRC / EPSRC Designing for the 21st Century Initiative