Following the increased numbers of people cycling to work post-pandemic, we’re talking about keeping bikes safe.
From a security perspective there are several barriers to people cycling to work but also several tools we can use to increase the number of cyclists.
In central London where space is at a premium, giving over increased space to bike storage is going to be a major ask but bike security must be carefully considered. Different organisations will take different approaches, whether that be reducing parking bays, installing new sheds or even using meeting rooms. During the lockdown and in preparation for the return to work, we’ve seen clients encourage the use of cycling to help people avoid public transport and car sharing. A large financial services company is loaning bikes to staff to encourage them to cycle to work, for example, which is a really great initiative.
The key is to ensure that whatever space is used to store bikes is secure. Although responsibility for the bike always rests with the employee when it’s stored on an organisation’s premises, if it is stolen it can create bad feeling within the business. We have clients who have suffered bike thefts in the past and it always causes major issues and of course upset for the individuals concerned. As a response, we use three different approaches to keep bikes safe:
Facial analytics: in many sites we provide a tool which matches a person with a bike. The technology ‘sees’ the person arrive with that unique bike and prevents another person leaving with the same bike – unless it’s been warned to expect that, for example if someone is borrowing a colleague’s bike.
Asset tracking: we use asset tracking technology with tags attached to bikes linked to an app. The bike owner can check the location of the bike at all times and can be matched with the bike when they return to collect it at the end of the day.
SmartWater: we make sure that bikes stored on clients’ premises are all invisibly marked with SmartWater, a solution which contains a unique forensic code which is exclusively assigned to that bike. It’s been likened to the concept of DNA profiling. If the bike is stolen and later recovered by the Police it can be matched easily with its owner.
Another challenge, which if often overlooked, is bicycles being stored in the racks for several years, without being used and just taking up space which other bike owners could use. We use MyTAG technology to manage that. Bicycles have a tag attached, which contains details of the owner and their contact details, allowing them to be easily contacted if their bicycle needs to be moved.
We’ve seen a great response to our own Cycle to Work scheme. It’s great for mental and physical wellbeing and also for the environment.
Enjoy the exercise and cycle safe!