Sunday 31 May 2020

Railway station bike parks are often full, unsafe and hard to use, say cyclists

Bikes parked at Amsterdam’s central station.Photo: DutchNews.nl

It is becoming increasingly difficult for rail passengers to find a place to lock up their bike outside Dutch train stations, according to new research by cyclists union Fietsersbond.

Some 45% of rail commuters cycle to the station but their number would increase sharply with better facilities, the survey found.

‘The free bike park is always full and unsafe, bikes can be stolen easily and it is too big to be properly monitored,’ one respondent said.

The organisation questioned almost 2,500 cyclists about their experiences of parking near stations and found there are complaints even at stations with state-of-the art cycle facilities.

‘There has been a lot of investment and most cyclists are pleased with the new bike parks,’ said spokesman Wim Bot. ‘But at the same time, there are still problems with the supply.’

Among the main issues: a shortage of secure places to lock bikes up, trouble with using double-deck bike racks and the narrow parking spaces which don’t fit bikes with crates or child seats. In addition, the rise of the expensive e-bike has increased the need for secure parking places, the organisation said.

New investment

One-third of commuters said they did not cycle to the station because of the lack of room to park bikes.

Cyclists were particularly critical of bike parking facilities at Amsterdam Sloterdijk and Rotterdam Alexander stations. Alkmaar, Arnhem, Haarlem and Hengelo won praise for their new bike parks.

The new cabinet has allocated €100m to improve conditions for cycling. Underground bike parks with space for 60,000 bikes are currently being developed across the country, including Amsterdam, The Hague, Groningen and Zwolle. Utrecht will have the largest underground bike park in the world when its new station park is completed next year.

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