Share Cycling in London
Ever since Clover Moore started weaving cycleways into Sydney's
skinny road system it seems that the on-road battle between drivers
and cyclists has elevated into an ideological one with Miranda
Devine, Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones on one side and the growing
throng of bike commuters, fixie riders and the lycra set on the
Ever disappointed to see what should be a simple matter of
choice in ways we get to work become and ideological and political
bunfight, we were invigorated to see that in the UK cycling is a
completely different story.
The system works like this:
You register for a day, a week or a year to be able to hire
bikes. Only takes a moment (and a credit card).
You then pay as you go to hire a bike from one of hundreds of
racks of cycles around the London CBD and inner-city suburbs.
First half hour is free, after that the price is modest.
Bust it or steal it and you bought it...yes, they have your
Word is that the system was looked upon with suspicion at first.
Surely they'd all end up in the Thames? In practice it has been
very different. You see the bikes being ridden by business-folk,
student, tourists and pretty much everyone else. They are well
liked and kept in good nick. There always seems to be one available
(aparently vans redistribute them around the city to make up for
peak hour movements) and, given how many people use them, you have
to think they've taken cars off the road and the pressure off the
public transport system.
But here's the best bit. The whole initiative was started by
Boris Johnson, London's Conservative mayor. Yes,
conservative. (This has lead to the bikes being
affectionately nicknamed 'Boris Bikes').
And here's the other best bit. The scheme is now being rolled
out across Europe, including in Ireland, where it has been a
rampaging success too. Makes you wonder why our politicians can't
look past their right-left American style ideology and instead come
up with and back good ideas that improve our country iinstead of
just trying to get cheap shots in on each other, of which cycling
seems to have become one.
PS: Want to know how pervasive cycling has become in London?
Have a look at all the bikes parked outside Parliament House.