This article originally appeared in The Adelaide Advertiser.
By Rachel Moore
Towers that safely store up to 118 bikes could soon be appearing across Adelaide, under a company’s push to encourage more people to cycle as a mode of transport.
Smart Stackers wants governments and private developers to consider erecting a bike tower, to give cyclists a safe place to leave their bikes and other belongings.
Developed in Prague, the Smart Stackers towers cost $1.2 million to $1.4 million to build and take up the footprint of four carparks.
There are 24 towers already established in Europe, with another six on the way.
Smart Stackers CEO Rod McQueen said the 24-hour towers would help encourage people back into our cities and entertainment precincts, in a post-COVID world.
“This is very much about getting our economy stimulated,” Mr McQueen said.
“It is a real opportunity for people to start utilising our cities, to get people out and about again as we come out of COVID.”
He said some people were reluctant to leave their expensive bike chained to a bicycle hoop for fear it would get scratched or have its wheels stolen.
Mr McQueen said bikes left on footpaths also created a risk of people tripping over them.
“With a tower you literally put your bike in and no one else touches it,” he said.
“We think in Australia it’s a no-brainer that people will warm to something like this.”Results
Mr McQueen said there had been interest from universities and local governments interstate, and Smart Stackers was open to any proposal to see the towers built.
He said one scenario was that users pay 50 cents to 70 cents an hour to store their bike.
The Advertiser reported earlier this month that Adelaide Metro patronage was down 30 per cent compared with pre-pandemic passenger numbers.
Mr McQueen said as more people shunned public transport and chose to cycle, it would create a growing storage problem.
“We hope that through cities embracing this revolutionary end-of-trip facility, we can encourage more Australians to choose cycling as their main mode of transportation,” he said.
Olympic gold medallist Anna Meares first saw a Smart Stacker bike tower in Europe.
“Cycling is a great sport, but more importantly it is a recreational activity loved by Aussies of all ages,” Meares, the most highly decorated female track cyclist in history, said.
She said bike sales had “skyrocketed” since the pandemic.
“We have the chance in 2021 to leverage this influx of interest and continue to encourage the use of bikes as a mode of transport by embracing a safe, accessible, hygienic, space-saving storage solution like bike towers,” Meares said.