Cycle Bike Cages On Way?


Are worthy improvements finally on their way for Auckland cyclists?

Auckland Transport last week hosted a seminar on cycling which included a special guest, Harry Barber from Bicycle Victoria. Good work, Auckland Transport.

He presented a case study from Melbourne which has undergone a remarkable transformation in numbers of cyclists.  In recent years thousands of workers from the inner suburbs of Melbourne have switched to bikes to get to work. The Victoria Ride to Work plan is here.

Two examples presented at the seminar of Melbourne improving facilities to encourage more cycling:

  • Installing park and ride bike cages at train stations and providing improved separation between cycle lanes and motor vehicle lanes.  Secure bike cages encouraged cyclists to bike the short trip to the station, lock away their bike, and then board the train.
  • Instead of a painted line indicating a cycle lane, low mountable kerbs were installed giving cyclists a more defined space from on-road traffic, thereby improving cyclists’ safety.

Great. Let’s have them please!

Auckland Transport’s Community Transport Manager Matthew Rednall acknowledges that the numbers of those cycling has increased in Auckland by an average of 20%  between 2007 and 2010. And he says: “One of our aims is to foster a cycling culture in Auckland by making cycling more attractive and safe.” Nice.

Melbourne’s Harry Barber said that the boom in bike commuting has governments and transport authorities scrambling to keep up with the need for new facilities for riders.   ”Not only does there have to be a big lift in investment, but the right decisions have to be made so that bike riders are properly provided for without wasting taxpayers’ money.

“Bikes are now a mainstream form of transport and every time a government or local government makes a decision on transport, bikes have to be considered along with the other modes.”

Cyclists on this site have been pressing for ages for:

  • Cycle racks at train stations. There are a few stations but it’s inconsistent and at the moment most cyclists have to chain their bike in the open to whatever they can find at stations -even though they can get in the way of commuters standing around and make it look like an advertisement for bad people to steal them.

Bike chained at Morningside station

The types of bike racks when they are provided are inconsistent. These days they need to be secure like the ones at Manurewa.

Cycle lockers at Manurewa


They are lockable and roomy inside.

Inside the locker

Cyclist Sam M wrote to AKT the other day:

As a cyclist, driver, and pub transport user, I like the idea of bike racks. However, there’s a very real possibility you won’t see your bike again.
A bike rack by the Akl Uni Rec Centre had cycles stolen so often that they had to enclose the rack in its own fencing, with access for bike owners only.

There is no way I’d even leave my old $400 bike chained up by the side of a street in Akl for more than a quick shop visit. Even in a busy area. And I have a good lock. There is a picture montage I saw in Australia of the remains of hundreds(?) of racks, locks etc after bikes had been stolen. Probably on the net somewhere. I don’t know about bike racks on buses; could be a good idea if managed well but I could also see bikes being stolen from buses while stopped at lights, stops etc. If too much trouble to secure, then trip slowed, other passengers annoyed etc.

In Melbourne where I was living for several years, bikes were always taken onto trains. The hand rails inside the most common trains (not the newest ones) were perfect for putting front wheels into and you could leave bikes there as most lines only opened doors on one side for duration of trip. Else you could just stand or sit near it anyway, and move it if people got on/off.
I never saw anyone complaining about bikes being a problem.

  • When there are bike racks they are open to theft as they are left obviously by people who are not around as they have caught the train, probably for the day -and there are not enough of them.

Newmarket’s new station got only a token number.

The racks outside Newmarket's busy station

New Lynn has more than most:

New Lynn transport hub has bike racks

  • Fullers has always been cycle friendly. Bikes travel for free and in the last year some ferries in the Fullers’ fleet were upgraded with extra space for bikes. And even inside Devonport ferry terminal, you can leave your bike without it getting wet.

Cycles inside the Devonport terminal

  • A year ago the NZTA said it has been examining how bike racks on buses work in places like Christchurch and Seattle. Present NZ legislation allows for buses to be fitted with outside bike racks. NZTA had begun working with ARTA to find a means to do it here. Let’s hope the idea didn’t die in the local government changes.  In Seattle, where there are 2 and 2 bike racks on buses, authorities say the average user cycles two and a half miles to a bus stop – then travels an average of 8 miles on the bus. Upon alighting and getting their bike off the rack, the user then cycles an average remaining one and a half miles often into the CBD.
  • These circular racks have been spotted at a Wellington train station park and ride:

  • We had a taste of a bike rental scheme which was well intentioned but didn’t pay its way. Auckland Transport says it’s received 5 applications for a tender to try again some similar idea for the RWC as a trial. Costs from the tenderers range from $2m to $4m.

Let’s hope if it happens that  it looks more like the smart and tidy Brisbane scheme.

You will have 60 seconds to press the unlock button on the bike rack of your chosen bike.

The pay machines

Once you have pressed the unlock button you have up to five seconds to remove the bike from the rack. Unfashionable bikes discourage theft but the Brisbane ones look reasonably cool unlike the ones we tried here.

  • More cycle racks are needed in busy inner city shopping areas. Good on the Waitemata local board for pushing for cycle racks in parnell and Ponsonby and Auckland Transport for investigating ones for K Rd.
  • Pierre alerted AKT to a great idea in Boston where bike repair stations costing $100 each have been installed. You can stop and pump up your tires, fix a flat, and several other easy repairs. The numbers cycling in the area has doubled in the last few years.
  • And good things are already happening. Auckland Transport is proposing on-road cycle lanes on Don Buck Road between Triangle Road and State Highway (SH) 16.




    1. mark says:

      The downside of the individual lock boxes is that they are very expensive per bike. And especially if hired on an individual basis (i.e. you have your own box) don’t actually see that much turnover - because they will be empty on many days, but since they “belong” to someone, no one else can rent them.

      A better concept - as shown during Friday’s conference - was lock-up cages, where you have swipe card access. You will still need to lock your bike, but it’s protected against casual theft and vandalism, has secure racks you can fix it to, and CCTV to further deter theft. Quite useful, though again, not cheap (but much cheaper per bike than lock-up boxes).

      The bike stands outside Newmarket shown in the photo are actually pretty awesome - but they are short-and-mid-term stands, for a quick shop or visit to someone’s office or house, not long-term parking.

      As for a return of the bike scheme, I’d like to say that the Auckland scheme “paid it’s way” more than many other schemes worldwide, if you consider that it lacked big-name sponsors and had no Council money at all. Julian did a great go at it, and I hope he gets chosen to do the official scheme, hopefully then integrated into the integrated ticketing smart card system. But we will get what we pay for - some of those fancy overseas schemes with the electronic docking stations cost $10,000 per bike once you divide costs by bike…

    2. mark says:

      Oh, and a final comment about locking your bike up and leaving it for the day at a train station: in those countries where cycling is big, your commuter bike is usually a cheap (but serviceable) old nag. When it gets stolen (unlikely) you are really annoyed, but you can just buy a new one at Ebay or the local flea market (do these still exist?) for a hundred bucks or less.

      The thing in Auckland is that most riders are still of the “I love my bike” crowd, rather than the much larger potential “my bike’s just a way to get around” crowd. So obviously their bikes are much more important to them as individual (and expensive) items. Once cycling gets more and more mainstream, we will see more “casual” bikes where people will have little fear of leaving it somewhere for a few hours.

    3. Luke C says:

      I wonder if lock up cage access could be integrated with Hop cards?

    4. mark says:

      It easily could in theory - however, the HOP cards can be bought anonymously, and to provide a better level of security, only registered people should be able to access the cage, not just any standard punter.

      However, I understand that the Hop cards can be linked to a specific ID. Maybe it will be possible to allow them to be used for the cages then.

      Similarly for a hire bike scheme - where it’s even more important, to ensure the person brings the bike back, and doesn’t just dump it in a stream. ID will be key for such uses.

    5. Luke says:

      yeh, I was thinking special personalised Hop Cards may have to be issued for this purpose.

    6. Swan says:

      You can register your hop card can’t you? If so then only registered cards can be used - with identity verified somehow, much like trademe or your video shop will do. Also you could limit it so that you only have access to say 2-3 cages at a time (you could log in online and change the cages you want access to, but most people will use only 1 or 2 regularly). This way a stolen card is not so useful.

    7. Jeremiah says:

      No need to reinvent the wheel kids…

      There are a number of bike cages at the University of Canterbury (or at least there was when i studied there 5 years ago). Swiping your student ID gave access and there were CCTV cameras monitoring as well. All fully enclosed, weatherproof etc. There was probably space for at least 50 bikes in them, maybe 100.


    8. mark says:

      Jeremiah - the wheel gets reinvented all the time. Nothing bad about that. Sometimes you get a better wheel out of it.

      The point here is that a swipe card bike cage = good. A smart card for public transport = good. A smart card for public transport that can also open your bike cage = better. Synergies.


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