Edinburgh Plans Bike Leasing Scheme
A project to help city residents get on the bicycle saddle could receive the green light next week as part of a bid to increase cycling in the capital. A new bike leasing scheme would offer the public the chance to try travelling on two wheels without the commitment of having to buy their own bike first.
Under the proposal, up to 200 new and refurbished cycles would be available, as well as safety gear, training and repairs.
The project would be for long lease, unlike London's bike hire scheme, which is designed for more short term use. Leasing costs could range from around £15 per month to £65 per year, giving users a choice on how long they want to try the scheme.
Council transport convenor and chair of the city’s cycle forum, Cllr Gordon Mackenzie, said: “People who might quite like to cycle to work, or for fun, are sometimes put off by the upfront costs. This is about providing hassle-free access to bikes so they can see if it’s the right option for them. There’s still some work to do on the detail, but this proposal could really help encourage cycling in the city and would support our many other actions to make life on two wheels more attractive for everyone.”
If the scheme gets the go-ahead, commercial sponsorship will be sought to help fund it, and it could be managed in partnership with existing local organisations such as the Bike Station. More details would be provided to a meeting of the transport committee in the summer.
Bike Station board member Ian Maxwell, said: “The Bike Station is already putting large numbers of donated bicycles back into use in Edinburgh, and we would welcome the chance to help with all projects that encourage cycling in the city.”
The Council has made a commitment to spend a minimum of 5% of its transport budget on cycling for 2012/13, an increase of around 70% on 2011/12. This will help to develop a 'Family Network' of safe, signed, cycle routes across the city, and pilot on-street storage for bikes.
Although Edinburgh has a growing network of cyclepaths, saftey on the city's busy arterial roads still remains a constant deterrant for would-be new cyclists.
On Monday, 40-year-old cyclist Brian Simons was killed after being hit by a taxi on Corstorphine Road. He was the second cyclist killed this year in Edinburgh and the 16th cyclist killed in Lothian since 2000.
Green MSP Alison Johnstone has called for a cycling safety summit and Edinburgh cyclists are planning a ride, "Pedal On Parliament", to present a cycling manifesto to the Scottish government. Transport Minister Keith Brown is due to meet with cycle safety campaigners within the fortnight.
Edinburgh City Council is planning a safety awareness campaign for cyclists and drivers that will be carried out over the coming months.