People in most deprived areas offered 75% off secure cycle parking

The discount is part of an effort by the city council to make cycling more 'inclusive and for everybody'.

People in Edinburgh’s most deprived areas offered 75% off secure cycle parking Getty Images

People living in Edinburgh’s most deprived communities are to be offered 75% off secure cycle parking spaces.

The discount is part of an effort by the city council to make cycling more “inclusive and for everybody”.

The £6-a-month scheme will be reduced to just £1.50 – £18 per year – for those in Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) areas one to three.

It comes as the roll-out of secure bike hangars across the capital continues at speed, with the number of green metal units, which can fit six bicycles each, doubled to 180 since last April.

The council plans to install a further 200 by the end of 2025.

Transport convener Scott Arthur said: “There’s a real desire to get more of these hangars into more deprived areas because often what comes with living in a more deprived area is you’ve got smaller accommodation where you just can store a bike.

“We recognise the cost for a bike hanger is just maybe too much for some people.”

The subsidy will be funded by a £60,000 grant from SEStran, which will also cover 50 per cent off subscriptions for all existing and new users outwith the most deprived areas, for a year.

Arthur said this would “definitely be a trial” but expected the discount for low-income communities would be more long-term.

He said he hoped it would act as “an incentive for them to engage with the scheme and also hopefully, if they’re not cycling already, to see it as a more attractive and more viable form of transport”.

He said: “I think it’s a good step forward actually, I think it reflects the values of our city and that we’re trying to get active travel into more deprived areas. I do think that is where the real opportunities lie in the city.”

Asked whether the initiative ran the risk of stereotyping people based on where they lived, he admitted this was something he had been “thinking about” and was “not ignorant to”.

He added: “The issue is we want to get a critical mass of people who want to use these hangers in more deprived areas.

“So doing it by an area basis helps us get that critical mass.”

A report, going before the transport and environment committee on Thursday, May 23, said: “Socio-economic implications have been identified for those unable to afford a cycle hangar space given the current fees.

“The project helps address issues of victimisation due to high levels of crime, in this case bike theft. Some families have been victims of bike theft numerous times before coming to the scheme.

“The project explicitly promotes equal opportunities for the elderly, children and certain types of disabled people who can use the units to store a bicycle where it would otherwise be impossible.

“By reducing the number of bikes in stairs it can help foster good relations between neighbours as cluttered stairs are known to occasionally cause friction. Groups such as the elderly who may struggle due to problems carrying bikes up multiple floors can benefit most from the scheme.”

However, it said a 100% subsidy was not recommended “as this would mean there would be no incentive for a user to remove a cycle that was not being used”.

The report added: “The council has prepared a communications plan that aims to increase awareness of the scheme in the lower deciles of the SIMD (1-3) where there has been a lower number of requests relative to other equally densely populated parts of the city.

“There will be promotional activities to raise awareness of the scheme in high-density areas of the city in deciles 1-3 of the SIMD, including emails to stakeholders and local amenity groups, adverts on social media, and lamppost wraps in target areas.”

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