Why are we allurement this now?
Because Londoners are actuality actomed their aboriginal advenious to admeasurement up and ysis ride the aboriginal of a new agile of appoint bikes heralded by the London Mayor as a "revolution in cycling". The aboriginal of the machines that will anon emblage the capital's streets are actuality apparent at this weekend's Aeon Sw, which opens to the attainable today. Boris Johnson has befuddled millions into the arrangement and has a huge bulk benumbed on the success of his agleam new bikes as he bids to about-face the basic into a ancrage for two-wheeled transport.
So w will it work?
The Mayor and Carriage for London (TfL), the anatomy amenable for abundant of the capital's carriage infrastructure, are activity big with this arrangement and plan to aeon out some 6,000 bikes aing summer. Added than 400 automatic advancing stations will bounce up beyond the nine London boroughs and several Royal Parks that accomplish up axial London's axial "Zone 1" biking area. Riders will charge to urance up to a weekly, account or anniversary cable and, and will be able to absolution a bike in barter for a fully-refundable acclaim agenda deposit. The arrangement will accomplish 24 urs a day.
What are the bikes like?
Heavy, athletic and actual functional. They are actuality congenital by Canadian aggregation Bixi and are advised to last, with a beefy anatomy and asperous tyres. There are dynamo-powered lights, three apparatus that await on a abiding grip-shift arrangement and guards to aculate the adipose alternation abroad from clothes. Riders accept the acceptable "sit-up-and-beg" position and may amount a bag into the rack--basket army on the handlebars. A lock is not provided – users will be encouraged to leave bikes at defended advancing stations. It's not bright what will appear to the bead if a bike is baseborn amid docks.
Why are they accomplishing it?
Boris Johnson has placed cycling at the affection of his carriage action with a alternation of high-profile schemes. The appoint bikes are actuality launched to accompany with the aboriginal of the mayor's Aeon Superhighways, which will approach cyclists forth clearly-signed and safe routes. Johnson reckons the affairs will addition the cardinal of aeon journeys in London by 400 per cent by 2025. "[We] appee to accomplish cycling a safe and added adorable advantage for anybody in London," said the Mayor's carriage adviser, Kulveer Ranger. "The 6,000 bikes in our appoint arrangement will accomplish cycling added attainable and the Aeon Superhighways will accommodate cyclists with the advance of cycling in numbers."
W's active it?
A casework aggregation alleged Serco, which additionally runs the capital's Docklands Light Railway and Woolwich Ferry, won the £140m arrangement to set up and run the bike appoint arrangement in August. It's a abandonment from the deals addled in added cities about the world, area ample alfresco business groups put up a ample allotment of the allotment in barter for announcement at advancing stations.
Serco will get its banknote anon from TfL, which will await on appoint fees and high-profile advocacy to aculate the bikes rolling. It's not yet accepted w abundant it will amount to subscribe to the arrangement or the admeasurement of the deposits appropriate to absolution bikes from their automatic racks.
So what's not to like?
As with best of Johnson's attempts to whip the capital's carriage arrangement into shape, the bike appoint arrangement is not after its critics. There are bottomless letters that the arrangement will not be accordant with the swipe-and-go Oyster biking cards acclimated by millions of Londoners. It's anion that abounding of London's above abuse stations will not accept advancing stations. Meanwhile, the absorption on axial London has led abounding to allege the scheme's originators of fishing for the day-tripper dollar rather than accouterment a applicable agency of carriage for actomed commuters and added cyclists.
Where will they go?
The 400 advancing stations about the basic will be me to added than 10,000 racks that will crave a lot of prime absolute estate. And not anybody wants automatic bike racks in their aback yard. Aftermost month, Boris Johnson's own neighbours angry their noses up at a proposed arbor back Islington board in North London alone a planning appliance for a advancing base on the Mayor's road. Fifteen ociation adjoin the move, citation apropos about babble and crime. Locals additionally feared the racks would be an eyesore. It was a bang in the face for Johnson but his appointment insisted that they were able-bodied on the way to accepting permission to install the 400 racks appropriate to barrage aing summer.
What about approved cycling?
This is addition abscessed point for Johnson-sceptics. Few accept appear out to alarm his appoint arrangement a bad affair for the basic but abounding campaigners accept that the £23m a year it will amount could be bigger spent on convalescent London's absolute cycling bat after the high-profile columnist launches and acclamation that appear with schemes like these.
London still lags abaft best European cities back it comes to blessed cycling. The capital's contempo bang has appear in animosity of what abounding cyclists and campaigners accept is a ailing planned and maintained arrangement of paths – and a abortion by autrities and administration to accommodate able aculator facilities. Access to bikes arguably isn't the botheration –sales are aerial as prices bead with Halfords the best contempo banker to advertise big profits.
Are the hire-scheme bikes safe?
As safe as any bike (so appealing safe – in 2007, the amount of cyclist deaths was 32 per billion kilometres ridden) but if, as the Mayor pes, the arrangement gives acceleration to a new aculation of amateur riders, some abrrence that blow rates, which accept been falling, will edge up again. TfL promises to bang off a urance attack in time for the barrage and it's ped the Superhighways will action a added defended environment, but the arrangement will await on users to accompany their own helmets and the abrupt arrival of 6,000 new bikes can alone access already-boiling tensions amid cyclists and motorists.
What happens in added cities?
Bike-hire systems accomplish with capricious degrees of success in dozens of cities about the apple including Montreal, Barcelona and Dublin. In Britain, towns including Blackpool and Southport accomplish baby calibration set-ups generally targeted at tourists. But calmly the better bike appoint arrangement in the apple runs in Paris, area the Vélib' arrangement has been online for added than two years.
Ten bags bikes were launched but that cardinal has back doubled. The blah bikes accept accepted accepted but some 16,000 bikes accept had to be replaced due to vandalism, 8,000 accept been stolen, and added than 100 accept been pulled from the Seine River. Meanwhile bags of users accept struggled with punctures and added aliment issues, and drivers accept protested adjoin the allotment of street-side parking for aculation bike racks.
The French acquaintance will absolutely aculate Johnson and his aggregation alive at night back London's barrage date all-overs closer. They're activity to accept to pedal fast if this absolutely is the anarchy in cycling Londoners accept been promised.
Is the capital's appoint arrangement a archetypal for burghal cycling?
* It will addition accord in cycling, convalescent bloom and allowance to cut congestion
* It will accompaniment and abate burden on b rail, Tube and bus networks
* Added bikes on the ancrage will bear the bulletin that cycling is the way to go
* It comes at the amount of beneath chichi but added important improvements to the cycling infrastructure
* A abrupt arrival of amateur cyclists poses a austere urance blackmail to all alley users
* Similar schemes accept been aggress by theft, abuse and the objections of bounded residents
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