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Bike-Off cycle anti-theft scheme

Brighton & Hove

Brighton & Hove has historically suffered from a high number of cycle thefts and initial research showed that people who experience bike theft are less likely to purchase another bike and cycle again. The Bike-Off project aimed to work with key stakeholders and implement a range of innovative measures to combat cycle theft.

Locked bikes in Brighton & Hove, anti-theft scheme
Implementing sustainable mobility

Brighton & Hove has historically suffered from a high number of cycle thefts and initial research showed that people who experience bike theft are less likely to purchase another bike and cycle again. The Bike-Off project aimed to work with key stakeholders and implement a range of innovative measures to combat cycle theft.

To decrease the rate of stolen bicycles in the city, the project communicated good cycle locking practice to existing and new cyclists and implemented secure cycle parking to facilitate good cycle locking practice. Innovative cycle parking measures in conjunction with a high profile publicity and awareness campaign was introduced at 10 high-risk sites.

The evaluation for this measure focussed predominantly on cycle theft data and cycle parking/locking behaviour. Detailed surveys were conducted at all sites before and after implementation of the measure, to assess levels of informal (‘fly’) parking, locking behaviour, and numbers of cycles.

How did the measure progress?

The key results were:

  • Levels of formal parking (bicycles locked to stands) increased across all sites by 28%
  • There was a statistically significant difference in locking practice for formally parked cycles at those sites receiving intervention. Changes at the control sites were not statistically significant.
  • 71% increase in good locking practice (using 2 locks) at sites receiving community engagement
  • 91% increase in good locking practice at sites receiving community engagement and new stands.
  • Total number of incidences of cycle theft across all sites has increased.
  • The results showed a strong relationship between the measure implementation and improved locking practice, leading to improved bike security.   Although the survey response rate was very low and did not allow any useful interpretation, the results of site observations were sufficiently strong to draw positive conclusions.
What were the outcomes of the measure?

Lessons learned:

  • Significant changes in locking behaviour were only observed where new stands had been installed. Therefore community engagement alone is not enough to impact upon cycle safe locking practice.
  • The ‘Bike Watch’ community engagement initiative was not well received, and response to the awareness and acceptance survey was poor. This process would need reviewing and potentially receiving further incentive.  

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