Monday, 26 July 2010

All Hail London's new cycle hire system.

The Guardian ran a very interesting article on the new London cycle hire scheme last week.

The capitals new cycle hire scheme is the second largest (after Paris) and The Guardian refers frequently to comparisons between the two cities and how London will need to learn from Paris mistakes.

There was one little nugget of information buried away at the bottom of the article which I found the most worrying.

The column refers to figures in Paris which suggest that car traffic levels haven't been affected but that public transport - buses and tube have seen falling levels of use as these users have switched to the new cycle hire.

If the purpose is to promote green transport, then it really does need to be aimed at those that would drive or take taxi's. Whilst it's nice to see users of public transport taking to the slightly healthier option of cycling. I say slightly healthier because you're still pedalling around next to fume chugging vehicles, not to mention the safety issues when you mix motorised vehicles and cyclists - especially on cramped roads like London's. These people were already using public transport - no need to change their habits surely?

And of course, the Guardian's test run was conducted on a bright sunny day. What happens when it rains?

I'll end positively by saying that i really hope the scheme takes off - lessons learnt by the French are incorporated quickly, theft and vandalism is a minimum and the running costs don't escalate and that Londoner's (and visiting guests) get on their bikes.

Click here to read The Guardian's full article.

London's cycle hire scheme will launch on the 30th July - that's later this week.

photo credit: tejvanphotos

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