London cycle hire scheme
Will it do more harm than good?
Recent visitors to central London will have noticed the new hire bikes whizzing around the capital. The London bike hire scheme is the latest attempt to capitalise on the growing interest in cycling and the desire to reduce the negative impacts of urban traffic. A 2004 review found 11 schemes in existence worldwide, in Austria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Norway.1 More recently, the Vélib scheme in Paris has seen 120 000 trips being made every day, making a highly visible difference to the city’s transport patterns. There appears to be little evidence of the impact of these schemes, however, especially in terms of health.
The London based Barclays cycle hire scheme was launched at the end of July 2010, and in the first two months Transport for London figures show these bikes have been hired for more than 825 000 journeys (Transport for London press office, 29 Sep 2010). With concerns