Edinburgh College of Art student creates unique display to combat bike theft


A STUDENT cyclist has installed a bizarre art display to combat bike theft – but locals are concerned it’s a tripping hazard and might actually get stolen.

Rowena Hutchinson set up the installation outside St Leonards Police Station in Newington, Edinburgh in a bid to raise awareness for high bike theft figures.

The 22-year-old Edinburgh College of Art student held a recent survey which found that Newington was one of the worst affected areas for pinched bikes in the city.

Bike theft art display | Scottish News
Rowena’s art display could be seen outside St. Leonard’s Police Station, Edinburgh.

Rowena decided to tie random bike parts along the pavement as part of an installation to raise awareness of the issue.

But after sharing images of the display on Facebook, many Scots were left baffled by the display and feared they could easily be stolen or be tripped over.

Rowena posted her exhibition, writing: “I have placed a small installation on Rankeillor street in Newington this morning near the police station. 

“After finding out the results from some surveys I found that Newington was the worst place in Edinburgh for bike theft.

“I’m hoping the work might highlight the problem in a small way.

“Will be impressed if the work is still there by the end of the day.”

Bike theft art display | Scottish News
Rowena’s art display could be seen outside St. Leonard’s Police Station, Edinburgh.

The disassembled bike parts are said to represent the sad scene of stolen bikes where parts are taken but the frame remains at the scene.

Rowena said she painted the parts green to make the items stand out and create a connection to the name of the exhibition: ‘Green Space’. 

The response online has been mixed, with many social media users baffled by the campaign.

One person wrote: “Just be careful if someone trips up over it!”

Another said: “Think it’s great might have been better on the other side of the lamppost less of a hazard

A member of the group joked: “So that’s where all the stolen bike parts have been going.”

And one critic commented: I am unsure what it is trying to achieve.

“Perhaps a sign saying ‘bike thieves operate in this area’ would be clearer… Currently to me it looks like an old crappy bike that has been vandalised and left by some undesirables.”

And another social media user wrote: “I always lock my bike up beside a much better one.”#

Bike theft art display | Scottish News
Rowena posted her unique display to Facebook.

Speaking today Rowena said: “ I wanted to create a work that was a relevant issue for the community. 

“So many people I knew had experienced bike theft and I felt it was treated differently to other thefts by the police. 

“This installation of bike parts donated by Soul Cycle in Edinburgh is part of a wider project of paintings and research to highlight the issue.

Responding to those who criticised the installation, Rowena added: “The work was only left for four hours and I purposely did it so it was not blocking the pavement, near any zebra crossings and it was a bright colour.

“The string used was extremely weak and the work could have been removed very easily. 

“My image didn’t do a very good job at showing this and I know that the work didn’t cause any harm.”