Boris Johnson allays trepidation over upcoming scheme

Mayor quells London cycle hire theft fears

Concerns that London’s forthcoming bike hire scheme will suffer from high levels of theft have been quashed by London mayor Boris Johnson, according to BikeRadar.

The scheme – which is to come into operation mid-2010 and joins other schemes to make London more cycle-friendly in time for the 2012 Olympics – will see 400 locations provided for members of the public to hire and return bikes stretching over nine London boroughs. Fears for the initiative had risen since it was reported that Paris’ similar hire scheme had suffered from significant thefts – putting the future of the French scheme into jeapordy.

Johnson said the London scheme would learn from the mistakes made by other schemes around the world, and that additional measures would be implemented to protect it, including making ‘docking points’ easy to use and encouraging for bike users to use. He revealed that hire bikes wouldn’t be supplies with locks to encourage riders to keep them from leaving the bikes in at-risk areas.

Johnson added: "Each docking station site will be assessed to determine whether it is covered by existing CCTV. If there is no coverage, consideration will be given to installing additional equipment."

The London mayor also revealed that helmets won’t be made compulsory for the scheme: “There are no plans to make the use of cycle helmets compulsory for users of the London Cycle Hire Scheme. The wearing of cycle helmets in the UK is not mandatory and it is therefore personal choice as to whether cyclists might like to consider wearing a helmet.”

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