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Barclays Cycle Hire bikes

Image by duncan via Flickr

Transport for London stated today that the Barclays Cycle Hire customers have cycled to the moon and back 13 times in the first 6 months of operation.  That’s over 2.5 million journeys at over 10,000,000km cycled.

The busiest day for the scheme saw more than 27,500 journeys, covering more than 124,000km.

There are nearly 110,000 registered users and ‘casual’ users have purchased over 28,000 access periods in just 8 weeks.

Plans for extending the scheme have been announced, this will see the blue bikes heading into and out of; Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Bethnal Green, Bow, Canary Wharf, Mile End and Poplar. This expansion will included 2,000 bikes and 4,200 docking points across new and old areas. These added station should be up and running in 2012.

I’ve been trying to compare the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme to others across the world, but it seems very hard to come up with figures of usage at a similar time to what TFL have produced. This is especially hard when trying to compare it to the Vélib’ scheme in Paris, mainly because my french is poor. Parlez-vous anglais?

I got some vague stats for both the Vélib’ and the bixi scheme which run in Paris and Montreal. In the first year the Vélib’ scheme logged 20,000,000 journeys with an average of 70,000 a day. Where as the Bixi scheme logged only just over 1,000,000 journeys. The thing to remember here is that the Vélib scheme is bigger than ours. And the bixi scheme has the same number of docks as us but we have more bikes.

I think the Cycle Hire scheme is clearly working, people are using it and the image of them on the street will only draw more people into cycling, which is a bonus.

But Boris needs to address some issues, and that’s the lack of free spaces to dock. I still find that I can go to several docking points in the middle of the day and not be able to park. That is the most frustrating part of using the scheme.
He should also look at how we can improve cycling as a whole in London. Making London a friendlier place to cycle, reducing the traffic, reducing traffic speed, more cycling specific routes. These will all aid cycling in London on a whole and increase the uptake of the cycle hire scheme. And not do things like reducing the congestion charge zone, that was one great thing that saw cycling improve massively in central London.

Speed Cameras are Pointless

January 31, 2011 — 5 Comments
A GATSO speed camera

Image via Wikipedia

The GATSO camera, the most common in the UK, is the most pointless device for catching and dealing with speeding motorists. They only catch the idiots that don’t notice them and they only succeed at slowing down the traffic to the limit at their location.

In the middle of 2010, a few councils across the UK decided to announce they would switch their speed cameras off. Much to the pleasure of the motorist. Stats from Swindon’s shut down show very minimal decrease’s in casualties and seriously injured, but is this a good enough reason to scrap the speed cameras?

The main reason for the switch off is the government cuts to the Road Safety Grant, which funds the speed cameras. It seems that some small changes in road casualties are another reason but in reality we will need to see a stronger change over a period of time, rather than a small change over a year.

In the past week the BBC reported that most speed cameras in the England and Wales aren’t functional. A freedom of information request was put in by Which? magazine.

47% worked at any given moment in all 43 police authorities in England and Wales.

Its study also highlighted big regional differences, with all 60 cameras in Sussex working compared to just 10% of Lancashire’s 287 sites

Which? also did a survey of nearly 2,000 people and they were split as to whether speed cameras made the roads safer.

47% saying they did and 45% disagreeing.

Speed cameras make people think about their speed, but in doing so, they may be distracted from hazards in front of them.

The one time I notice all road users obeying the speed limits is through average speed check zones, these are most often found on motorways or busy/large A roads during road works. But why not apply these along roads where there is an issues with speeding in general?

Speeding on Britons roads is a big factor in crashes and casualties, we should kill our speed and not one another. Removing or keeping our common GATSO camera will not affect how the vast majority of motorists speed daily.

The Red Light Jumping Gods

January 27, 2011 — 9 Comments

Any sensible cyclist knows that breaking the law is a big no no. It gives us (cyclists) a bad image and can potentially be dangerous.
Each day I see several cyclists whizz through lights with no consequences.  Which is good, i don’t wish harm to anyone but sometimes it’s good to see them fall foul of a common issue for cyclists, such as your chain coming of your chain ring.

With the current changes taking place at the CTC, many members are looking for somewhere else to join to get their benefits.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) have been the cyclists friend in the past few years, giving us support and agreeing with us on topics such as primary position.
It’s come to the point where IAM have teamed up with John Franklin, the author of Cycle Craft, and written a book called  How To Be A Better Cyclist.

IAM recently started offering a membership scheme for cyclists which offers:

  • The book “How to be a better cyclist”
  • IAM Total Cycle Assist policy, looking after you and your bike whilst on the road and in the even of an incident
  • 10% discount vouchers for Halfords
  • Hi-viz draw string bag
  • Other exclusive IAM discounts services
  • Regular e-newsletters

The IAM Total Cycle Assist policy has been around for several years and it offers you, all your bikes and your direct family coverage.  You get access to a 24/7 help line for immediate expert assistance, which isn’t actually 24 hours a day, it’s actually only 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and the rest of the time you get a voicemail. You’ll get a brand new bike if your own is damaged beyond repair, this is on a like-for-like basis. They also offer £100,000 legal expenses insurance cover, private physiotherapy and treatment.

The membership costs £15 which is half the cost of the current CTC membership which is approaching £40. I could see a few cyclists moving over to this, just to see what it’s like. The only problem I see is backing a charity which is so car pro. You expect when you join the CTC or similar, you are aiding in the running of the group/charity for improving cycling for all of us but will we get the same if we join the IAM or will they put the money in the general fund which will go to the vehicle based activities?
Not that funding the IAM in general is a bad thing, they do great work and they want to make the roads a safer place for everyone.

You can read more about the IAM cycling membership here

The latest episode of Silly Cyclists has just been released.

In this episode we see a few submissions from other cyclists, undertaking lorries, overtaking busses and left turning lorries.

You can watch previous episodes of Silly Cyclists here.