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Bring Boris' cycling scheme to Camden

PUBLISHED: 12:00 08 April 2010 | UPDATED: 16:53 07 September 2010

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

BORIS JOHNSON'S landmark bike hire scheme should be extended north to Camden Town, cycling campaigners believe. The mayor s project, which will see thousands of hire bicycles placed across the centre of London, will be launched on Friday Ju

Ben McPartland

BORIS JOHNSON'S landmark bike hire scheme should be extended north to Camden Town, cycling campaigners believe.

The mayor's project, which will see thousands of hire bicycles placed across the centre of London, will be launched on Friday July 30.

The Cycle Hire scheme, believed to be costing around £71million, mimics the popular Velib model already established in Paris.

Cyclists will be able to pick up and drop off bikes at around 400 docking stations across central London. The locations for the stations have not yet been revealed but all stands will be in Zone 1, which has disappointed some Camden cyclists.

Lib Dem cycling champion Cllr Paul Braithwaite said: "From the very first time of consultation I argued that there should be an extension of the scheme into Camden Town, Swain's Lane and the Primrose Hill area so inner city commuters could use it too, but we were told it was just for zone one.

"I welcome the scheme but would encourage its immediate extension into the suburbs.

"I am in favour of encouraging more cyclists in the city because every person on a bike means less of a load on public transport or people driving their own car."

Jean Dollimore, from the Camden Cycling Campaign, is also in favour but has similar reservations.

She said: "I have been looking forward to it coming here ever since I used it in Paris. The main thing that worries me is that it is possibly not big enough.

"They could have extended it more, even to Camden Town, but then again, it could succeed because we have lots of people in the centre of London who use bikes."

Cycling enthusiast Bob Speller, who is caretaker at Hampstead Parochial school and organises regular cycle to school days, said: "I don't know whether it will work or not because everywhere you lock your bike these days it gets nicked, even if you double lock it. There are professional bike thieves out there. Maybe I am just being negative but stealing is a massive industry.

"It is a nice idea and around the West End is a good place for it. I don't know if people in Hampstead will use it because most of them will already have a bike."

TfL are planning 45 roadshows from the end of May to provide demonstrations, hints and tips on the scheme. Safety advice will also be given as well as details of cycle routes.

London mayor Boris Johnson said: "What we are creating is not just a cycle hire scheme, but a new form of public transport of the greenest and healthiest of kinds. It will become the cornerstone of the cycling revolution in the capital."

A TfL spokesperson said: "People using the scheme will be able to pick up and drop off one of the 6,000 hire bicycles at around 400 locations across the nine London boroughs and several Royal Parks. It is anticipated that, following the first phase, there may be further expansion.

"We have looked at the experience of the many successful cycle hire schemes from around the world and have the advantage of being able to take those experiences into account when delivering London's scheme.

"Our bikes are designed to be robust, to deter theft and will be distinctive enough to ensure that they become as much a part of London life as our red buses.

"There is always a risk of vandalism or theft in public schemes. However, TfL and our operator Serco will share the cost of this risk in the contract we have agreed, meaning that both parties have an incentive to minimise problems of this nature.


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