Sunday, 7 September 2008

Cycle parking at home

The ground floor of this 1970s apartment block
provides secure cycle-parking for all residents.
There is a separate locked room for each flat
and also a communal area for extra bikes.
This is normal in the Netherlands. Indoor
cycle parking has been a legal requirement
for most of the time for several decades.
A law in 1992 laid down standards for the size of cycle storage that it was compulsory for all new homes in the Netherlands to be built with.

In 2003 the incumbent government overturned this legislation, and was much criticised for that decision.

Fietsersbond (the cycling campaign organisation) and some consumer organisations objected strongly about this change, and some cities implemented their own by-laws to put the storage back.

On the 19th of August this year, the law came back into force.

The regulations require a minimum of 6.5% of the floor area of an apartment or house (minimum 3.5 square metres) to be provided as storage, and for it to be a minimum of 1.5 m wide. While there is nothing to prevent people from using their storage for something other than a bike, these dimensions are chosen deliberately to make sure that there is ample secure residential cycle parking.

A friend of ours lives in one of the apartments in the block on the left. Though they were built in the early 1970s, well before the 1992 law, the entire ground floor (1/12th of the building) is storage. These apartments each have 100 square metres of usable floor space and the storage is larger than the minimum legal requirement. People who live here keep their bikes safely in this storage.

This article refers to the situation between 2003 and 2008 when the storage was not compulsory, and some developers provided storage which was down a steep flight of steps into the basement, or completely absent. The problems due to a lack of convenient storage are obvious: Raised risk of theft, bikes being stored in such a way so that they are less convenient to use than cars, risk of the bike rusting if the storage is not adequately designed. These issues are all covered by the article.

If cycling is to be popular, it has to be convenient. This includes having somewhere both convenient and safe to keep your bike, and that's why cycle parking is provided with housing.

1 comment:

string and wax said...

Oh, mercy, what I wouldn't do for bike storage in our apartment building! My husband and I live in Arizona, US, and we have one bicycle in the bedroom and 2 in the living room as we don't have anywhere else to keep them. Thankfully, we live in the first floor, and don't have to haul the poor things up and down the stairs everyday.