This week, new bicycle parking facilities are being installed across areas of the city to improve security as part of the Safer Streets funding.
In July 2020, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner of the Thames Valley secured Safer Streets funding to tackle specific crime types, including bicycle theft, in hotspot areas across Oxford city to stop offences that have a significant impact on our local communities and cause considerable inconvenience and distress to many victims.
New bicycle parking facilities are being installed in eight locations including; Bullingdon Road, Circus Street, Hurst Street, James Street, Marston Street, Regents Street Stockmore Street and St Marys Road. The parking structures are being installed following a public consultation that was run by Oxfordshire County Council and lasted for 28 days. The new Streetpods, which will be maintained by Oxfordshire County Council, will allow members of the public to lock their bicycles securely on the road within highly populated residential areas. This will be particularly useful to those who are unable to secure a bicycle safely within their home.
As a famous cycling city, Oxford has historically suffered from higher levels of bicycle theft. From January to December 2020, 1174 bicycles were reported to Thames Valley Police as stolen from within the city.
Thames Valley Police is working alongside Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes University to help increase awareness of bike security and put measures in place to combat bicycle theft.
Sharon Massingham, Thames Valley Police Safer Streets Project Manager, said: “We know how much of an impact having a bicycle stolen can have on people. We hope that the installation of these parking facilities will go a long way to combatting these offences in Oxford.”
Matthew Barber, Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: "I'm delighted that as part of the Safer Streets scheme we're able to help tackle cycle theft. It is just one of the initiatives to tackle neighbourhood crime and will help Oxford as a cycling city."
A spokesperson from the University of Oxford, said: “We are pleased to be a part of the Safer Streets initiative. We continue to work with our students to raise awareness of bicycle security and are pleased that these Streetpods will be available to our students living in the local area.
Jerry Woods, Director of Estates and Campus Services at Oxford Brookes University, said: “We already take steps to help students protect their belongings, including offering free bike marking kits. We’re pleased to be involved in the Safer Streets initiative and work with partners across the city to raise awareness of bicycle security. The introduction of Streetpods in this area is another step in helping residents keep their cycles safe and secure.”
Oxford City Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for Safer, Healthier Oxford, said: “We want to encourage people to cycle rather than take the car, and nothing is more likely to put you off cycling than having your bike stolen. Many people rely on their bikes to get to work or school – having it stolen is incredibly inconvenient. This initiative should help people with no easy access to off-street cycle parking to lock their bicycle securely in the street where they live. I hope this experimental trial works - we desperately need to find ways to bring down the sky-high rates of bike theft in Oxford.”
Oxfordshire County Councillor Yvonne Constance, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Feedback from residents in Oxford has outlined that secure cycle parking is one of the key issues that would make a difference in choosing cycling over other modes of local transport. This, combined with other supporting measures included in the recently awarded Active Travel grant, will help to boost rates of cycling in Oxford as part of our commitment to developing a comprehensive cycle infrastructure for the city.”