Monday, May 16, 2011

Cycle Hire Update

The Standard reports new figures showing that casual users of the London cycle hire scheme have outnumbered registered users for the first time over the Easter long weekend. There were around 13,000 casual hires each day over Easter. The Standard describes this as "More tourists than locals use Boris Bikes as scheme grows", but there's no evidence presented that the casual users are in fact tourists.

TfL commented that (unsurprisingly) the busiest docking stations are in Hyde Park: the 'Tour de Park' ride is a popular one with Boris Bikers even on weekdays. It's a shame there aren't some low-traffic routes through Central London, to encourage more people to use the bikes to get from A to B. Westminster Council's hostility to cycling and dogged refusal to make even basic changes, such as allowing contraflow cycling along one-way streets (which is the norm in many European countries) will prevent the cycle hire scheme from reaching its full potential.

A footnote: there was a time when any cycling story in the Standard would attract a predictably vitriolic stream of  comments from cyclist-haters; with this story the 'anti'-comments are of the 'you must be mad to cycle in London - don't they know how dangerous it is' variety. Perhaps that's a sign that cycling has turned a corner in public perception; perhaps it's a sign that people who use Cycle Hire are not seen as 'cyclists' and not given the same 'out-group' status. Which is a little strange, as in my observation Boris Bikers are probably less law-abiding that your average cyclist.


  1. "Boris Bikers are probably less law-abiding that your average cyclist." True - but probably not as smug about it :) I think people on BBs are what is referred to as a person on a bicycle as opposed to a cyclist. Not everyone can identify themselves with a lycra clad roadie but it doesn't take much to hop on a BB. So it's the effect I was kind of hoping for. Now it's time for the City and other boroughs to react to the demand.

  2. I am a registered user with two linked keys on one account. If either my partner or I are going solo and just getting one bike out we pay as a 'casual' user. My last few hires have been that way so we're skewing the figures, I'm sure many others are too.