In its latest newsletter, campaign group Southwark Cyclists says it has spotted two glaring omissions from the British Standards quality mark: bike locks and cycle parking stands. While these are not covered by British Standards, 27,000 other products have been 'quality tested'.
"The British Standard is the widely recognised quality mark that tells you that the product your looking for is of a decent standard and fit for the job," says the newsletter.
"Amazingly, no British Standard exists for bike racks, vital in our battle against the scourge of bike theft. When this omission came to the attention of Southwark Cyclists we sprang into action. We are all too painfully aware that there are some very poor quality bike racks out there which can be cut through with relative ease. Southwark Cyclists brought together the Design Against Crime Unit at Central St Martins, the Jill Dando Institute at University College London and the British Standards Institute All jumped at the idea whose time has come."
BSI is seeking funding for the new lock/rack standards. Once this funding is agreed, a British Standard can be produced within a year.
"This is effective, wide-reaching stuff," says Southwark Cyclists.
Many bike locks sold in the UK are marketed as meeting or exceeding Sold Secure standards. Manufacturers pay fees for such accreditation but as this article points out Sold Secure does not test products against some very common tools used by bike thieves.
Sold Secure says the tools it tests with are those that “a typical burglar would carry.” Technicians attack locks with a tight-knit selection of tools. Depending on whether it’s Gold, Silver or Bronze being tested for, the tools include screwdrivers, junior hacksaw, pliers, stillsons, steel tube, ball-peign hammer, HSS hacksaw, punch set, club hammer, TCT hacksaw, freezing agent, cold chisels, 24-inch wrecking bar, scissor jack, slide hammer and lock picking tools. However, the tool set does not include stubby bottle jacks or bolt croppers. 36” bolt croppers are considered the 'tool of choice' for serious bike thieves although, of course, the majority of bikes are locked with flimsy cable locks that can be cut through with pliers.
A British Standard for locks could prove to be a major fillip for cycling. Cycle theft is a serious disincentive to cycling. According to a French study, only 25 per cent of cyclists re-buy a new bike after a theft, and of these 10 per cent buy a cheaper bike than they had before (20 per cent cheaper on average). A further 23 per cent won’t return to cycling at all.
The study reports that 20 per cent of stolen bikes were not protected with any form of locks. 90 per cent of those which were locked were secured with an easily cut lock.