South East Wales

Cardiff bicycle thefts rise by 57% in five years

Bikes in Cardiff Image copyright Simon Nurse

The number of bicycles stolen in Cardiff has risen by 57% in the last five years, figures have shown.

The details from South Wales Police showed there were 1,373 thefts in 2016 - up from 872 in 2012.

Cardiff is aiming to become one of the UK's leading cycling cities over the next 10 years.

While cycling charities called for safer storage, Cardiff council said its new Transport Interchange would have 500 secure cycle parking spaces.

According to the figures, obtained via a Freedom of Information request, most thefts were reported in the city centre - 1,736 in total over the five years.

The ward with the second highest number of stolen bikes was Cathays with 1,003 thefts, followed by Cardiff Bay with 664.

In January, the council's cabinet backed a strategy to get half of commuters in Cardiff out of their cars by 2021 and 60% by 2026.

The plans include creating the 500 new spaces at the new bus station at Central Square but charities said security is an issue.

Kevin Rhaman-Daultery, of charity Cardiff Pedal Power, praised the council's plans to improve the city's cycling infrastructure but said thefts could deter people from cycling in the first place.

"For a lot of people, cars are more convenient than bikes and people could be put off from cycling if there's a risk of their bike being nicked," he said.

"In terms of safe storage, it's something Cardiff council hasn't really discussed in their planning.

"They should look into how businesses and residential developments can provide safe storage, for staff and residents in the city - there are ways Cardiff council don't have to spend a penny."

The local authority said the rise in thefts came at a time when rates of cycling were also growing quickly.

Image copyright Sustrans Cymru

In response to the charity's comments, a spokesman said: "The provision of cycle parking is a requirement of all new developments in the city and in the case of flats and workplaces, where bikes are likely to be parked for longer periods of time, this will be under cover and secure.

"Five hundred publicly accessible, secure cycle parking spaces will also be included in the new Transport Interchange planned for Central Square and we currently provide free Sheffield bike stands to businesses via the Park Your Bike scheme which can be mounted in secure locations."

The spokesman added that the council could do little to prevent thefts in areas such as residential houses and urged cyclists to ensure they are securely locked and registered.

South Wales Police chief inspector Dan Howe said it was aware of the increase in thefts and has launched initiatives to tackle the problem.

These include enforcement operations that have led to arrests and gaining criminal behaviour orders that keep people from entering certain areas of the city.

"The public and local businesses can also help to tackle the problem," he added.

"We find that people are making do with substandard locks when they leave their bikes in public places and this makes it too easy for criminals.

"And only a fraction of people actually register their bikes meaning that we are unable to return stolen bikes to the rightful owners even if we recover them, and those caught in possession of those bikes cannot be linked with the original crime."

Ch Insp Howe said this creates "a perfect storm for a perpetuating bike theft problem".

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