Thursday, 4 September 2014

Can we make Space for Boris Bikes?

TfL has this week published its most radical plans yet for redesigning some streets in central London to give cyclists safe, protected space for cycling. The two routes intersect at Blackfriars; one will run from Kings Cross down to Elephant and Castle, the other from Tower Hill across to Acton.

Both routes are largely segregated, and junctions give priority to cyclists. They pass close to many of London's top attractions, and also include improvements to improve the general environment, and help pedestrians.

But these improvements come at a cost, not only financial, but in terms of reallocating space from motorised traffic. There will no doubt be objections from those who would prefer to keep the status quo.

Please take time to review both sets of proposals, and send a supportive response in to the consultations.

View the East-West consultation here
View the North-South consultation here

Neither plan is perfect, and there may be areas where you'd like the plans to be improved, but they are better than anything seen before, and need our support to get them approved.

Three things strike me as of special importance for Boris bikers:
  • These routes fall almost entirely in areas served by cycle hire docking stations
  • They are suitable for novice cyclists as well as those with more experience
  • They connect 'tourist London', enabling visitors to use cycle hire safely to reach their destinations
Please reply to the consultations, and help make cycling in London better for everyone.

Tower Hill on the East-West route: safe for Boris Bikers?



Friday, 15 August 2014

Boris Bikes to Maida Vale?

A petition has been launched to extend the cycle hire scheme into Maida Vale, pushing a little north and west of the existing stations in that area (Warwick Avenue and Clifton Road).

You can sign the petition here, and I would encourage you to do so.

Many previous petitions of a similar nature (Bikes2Brixton for example) have been unsuccessful, but I think it's still helpful that TfL and the Mayor are aware that there is demand to push the bikes out into new areas.

Don't forget that the bikes are free to hire this weekend - happy cycling!

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Happy Birthday Boris Bikes

4 years old - happy birthday Boris bikes
Now 4 years old. There are a number of news stories accompanying the anniversary, one being that usage is once again increasing, and July 2014 is likely to show the largest number of uses in a single month in the scheme's history, beating the previous record set during the Olympics.

Caroline Pidgeon AM points out that usage per bike remains low, and certainly it would be great to adapt the terminals to accept Oyster and contactless payments. However, the newer docking stations to the west and south are away from the central, most intensive, area, so lower use out here will generally bring the mean down a bit.

Also is the news that Boris bikes will be free to hire on the weekend of 16/17 August, in a bid to tempt new users into the scheme. Beware though - you'll still get charged if you go over 30 minutes. Guided free rides will take place in Hyde and Regents Park, the latter for women only. Registration is needed.

Before that of course is Freecycle on 9 August - a chance to ride your Boris bike on traffic-free streets in central London. Hope to see you there.



Sunday, 27 July 2014

Day in the Life of a Boris Bike

The Guardian has followed a Boris bike (15512) for a day - it's an interesting journey, with some useful facts about the bikes thrown in. I especially like Barbara's comment.

Over in Wandsworth, use of and demand for bikes is rising.

And I guess I should mention the missing Boris bike, found after 2 years in Bradley, West Midlands.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

New docking stations for SW London

Three new docking stations will open on 28 July, with 78 docking points in total, on Abyssinia Rd, Limburg Rd and Clapham Common Northside, TfL has announced. This will improve access to Clapham Common and the busy shops and restaurants nearby.

Looking at a map, this will add 3 new stations towards the SW tip of the current area. One might hope that an obvious next step would be to add more docking stations north of the A3 eastwards towards Clapham Common tube station and the busy areas of central Clapham, where Superhighway 7 makes its way southwards. I have seen a new station under construction at Stockwell tube.

In a recent online Q&A session Nick Aldworth, head of Barclays Cycle Hire, said that intensification rather than a major new expansion was the current priority. There are certainly areas within the current scope of the scheme which woefully lack capacity. Expect to see more 'mini-expansions' like this one happening in the coming months.

In other news, a new sponsor is sought for the scheme.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

New sponsor?

The association of Barclays with London's cycle hire scheme has always produced a mixed response.

They certainly don't seem to have delivered the sponsorship which was promised.

So TfL are going after a new sponsor from 2015. Who will it be? Will it make a difference?

Usage this year is good, but there is a lot more to do. A new sponsor should be judged on their commitment to:
  • Expand the scheme - Southwark Borough, and eastwards into the Olympic Park, have both been seriously proposed. More central docks are needed too.
  • Increase usage - surely 40k journeys per day is not unachievable?
  • Better integration - Boris bikes need to made available on Travelcards, to Oyster users, and with Contactless. At the moment it's just not joined up with other transport choices.
If I were a multimillionaire I would sponsor Boris bikes. But I'm not so I hope a good partner is found. The success of the scheme in contributing to a real change in cycling culture in London depends on it.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Space for Boris Bikes

I hope you, like me, took part in the LCC's Space for Cycling Big Ride last Saturday. Unsurprisingly, I was on a Boris bike.

Half of all the local election candidates in London ended up offering their support. Of those elected, the challenge now will be to get them to act.

Here is Andrew Gilligan's encouraging speech from the day.

Also in the news is the first competitive race on Boris bikes. I hope it takes less than 30 minutes to complete.

The current phase of expansion is nearing its end, but a few new docking stations have been sighted going in, including near Stockwell tube station. Usage this spring has been encouraging, but without a new sponsor, we may not hear of new plans for a while.