Around 30 students, including representatives from Physics, Environmental Soc, Cycling Club and The Faculty of Life Sciences Union, gathered this lunch time to show their displeasure at College's removal of many cycle racks from around the South Kensinton campus. The protest lasted for 30 minutes, and despite College Security's best efforts (using Health and Safety arguments about Emergency Vehicles), Callender Gate (leading onto Prince Consort Road) was blockaded for about 20 minutes. This forced a number of vehicles to turn around and find an alternative escape route from college and a number of motor cycles to use the pedestrian gates.
For cyclists this lack of cycle racks is a big problem. For those that arrive after 10am there is little hope of finding anywhere to leave a bike, let alone a place that is secure, covered and theft proof, especially as security have taken to padlocking any bike that is left in an unauthorised place. This problem has been caused by the removal of cycle racks from around Electrical Engineering and the walkway by Mechanical Engineering, due to the construction works in Dalby Court, and also by recent departmental manoeuvres (Physics, RSM) that have outlawed bikes from buildings.
Currently fewer than 600 bike parking spaces exist, yet 200 car parking spaces (capacity 800 passengers) exist on campus. One car park space can yield at least ten bike slots. After almost 2 months of pressure from students, College has applied to the GLA centre for Cycling Excellence for funds to increase the number of bike spaces by 50, however many people feel this is simply not enough.
According to the police, on average, one bike is stolen from the IC campus each day, and it it rumoured that Imperial bike theft accounts for 1/3 of crimes in the Belgravia area.