I led a ride today and two women turned up on identical bikes. The bikes were too large for the riders to use comfortably, but I was told that the bikes were provided for the use of students at a new central London halls of residence and all the bikes were the same size. The student I was speaking with said that about half the residents were from China, and tended like her not to be very tall.
I expect that planning condition for the halls of residence was conditional on some travel plan actions being implemented, including providing cycles for residents to use. I suspect that the company had sought to comply with the requirement as economically as possible, without giving any consideration to the likely residents.
Someone had probably sourced and bought a cheap, bulk deal of one-size bikes without expensive 'niceties' like mudguards (which would have been very much appreciated this wet afternoon) or gears.
I would expect that the provision of a number of smaller bikes, with a step-through frame, three hub gears, mudguards, a kickstand and pannier rack would result in more journeys being made by bikes - surely the intent of any requirement to provide cycles.
So the question is, do local authorities require 'appropriate' bikes to be provided and do they check? Or do they just trust the property developer?