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Operator found for city cycle hire scheme

But Mayor Joe urged to make streets better for bikes

Written by . Published on February 19th 2014.

Operator found for city cycle hire scheme

LIVERPOOL'S much-touted cycle hire scheme is a step closer with the appointment of an official operator.

Surrrey-based HourBike Ltd, which acted as consultants on Moscow's cycle hire scheme, won the tender to run the operation from Liverpool City Council. The Liverpool venture, set to be rolled out in April, a year after it was first announced. It will be the biggest cycle hire scheme outside London, the council says.

It will run in tandem to the Bike & Go cycle hire scheme run by Merseyrail at all of its stations.

The announcement comes on the same day that leading cycling charity Sustrans called on the city council to create more cycle friendly roads and pathways. It claimed Liverpool people are put off using the push-bike as a mode of transport despite accident rates fairly low.

Make roads in Liverpool more cycle friendly with some of that £80m, say SustransMake roads in Liverpool more
cycle friendly with some of
that £80m, say Sustrans
Last week Mayor Joe Anderson revealed plans to invest £80 million in highways maintenance over the next eight years, in an attempt to reduce the backlog.

But Sustrans North West Regional Director Eleanor Roaf urged him not to forget cyclists.

She said: “I hope that some of the money will be allocated towards more segregated cycle paths and other route improvements so cyclists feel safer travelling around the city.

“Although cycling accident rates are actually quite low, poor cycling facilities put people off using this as a form of transport. Making it safer, easier and more enjoyable for people to travel by bike or on foot would unlock huge economic gains and health benefits for the UK.”

April will see the roll-out of up to 100 hire bikes at 10 city centre stations. By July, there will be 500 bikes at 50 stations, it says, with 1,000 bikes at more than 100 stations, across the city, by March 2015.

HourBike launched its Cycle Hire Service in 2007 and is currently running or installing systems in Dumfries, Lincoln, Nottingham, Reading and Southport.

Mayor Joe Anderson, said: “It’s now all systems go for our launch in April. I’m looking forward to seeing a first-class cycle hire scheme delivered in this city, one which will help us cut carbon emissions and make cycling accessible for all.”

The funding for the Liverpool City Cycle scheme comes from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), allocated by the Department for Transport (DfT). Liverpool has received £2.8m from the fund, of which £1.5 million is being invested in delivering the cycle hire scheme. The remainder of the funding has been committed to a number of cycling and signalling infrastructure improvements, and sustainable transport initiatives in different parts of the city. 

Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Councillor Tim Moore, said: Our ultimate aim is that wherever you are in the city centre, you will be no more than a three-minute walk from a cycle station.”

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11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

via twitterFebruary 19th 2014.

Liverpool1207 ‏@Liverpool1207 @LivConfidential @joeforliverpool A review of, and better cycle linkage between our parks/green spaces also. As advocated by @ShareTheCity

via twitterFebruary 19th 2014.

ShareTheCity ‏@ShareTheCity @Liverpool1207 @LivConfidential @joeforliverpool 100 bike hire stations - fantastic. Re-allocate space for cycles & parking from bus lanes.

JFebruary 19th 2014.

This has got to be good news, especially once the Bike Hire stations appear beyond the City Centre. Liverpool is a good size and shape for cycling, with miles of parks and promenade, and a radial 'spiders' web' structure. There are some short, steep hills stepping up from the river, but the wind is usually behind you! For cycling to be taken up as a mass transit option, we'll need to sort the death trap junctions (Tunnel Road-Wavertree Road) and racetrack highways (Islington, Scotland Road, West Derby Road etc). As a first, free step, why not give the suspended bus lanes over to bikes alongside free parking to support the high street shops?

1 Response: Reply To This...
SpokesmanFebruary 20th 2014.

The Council really needs to give some thought to changing the one-way systems and unblocking blocked-off streets in the centre so that cyclists can take more direct routes to where they want to go legally without having to ride on pavements or against one-way signs. Surely iron bollards and signs to prevent vehicular abuse are cheaper to install than miles of (extra and useless) kerbs and pavements.

Andi ArmitageFebruary 19th 2014.

Generally all good. However the current cycle hire is limited as you must return the bike to the place of hire and is an inconvenient system. The London cycle scheme similar to those in Paris and Milan is proven and works well. If the council is serious then demarcate roads with cycle payths, enforce cycle priority junctions and educate all road users. This is in addition to redesigning some junctions with cycle priority lights and pathways, ever tried continuing down Sefton street heading south getting across four lanes of traffic at 40mph? Work with #British Cycling to develop and promote cycling with ride leadership awards and train adults road craft and have cycling on the curriculum in schools. I doubt the council can or is willing to develop this. I tried to find information and attend the cycle transport meeting and volunteer my time, the links on the website didn't work and I didn't get a response to my email volunteering. I also had my proposal to designate Sefton park perimeter road traffic free on Sundays and to have a cycle lane marked on the inner kerb lane to make it safer and more attractive to use. I look forward to this. Been on a bike for almost all of 42 years in most European cities, raced, road and track as well as a spell as a cycle courier! When was Joe Anderson last on a bike?

SpokesmanFebruary 19th 2014.

What about all those pointless bits of lethal jagged kerbs that stick out into the stupidly narrowed roads? They are unpainted and unlit and could easily kill a cyclist distracted by traffic.

AnonymousFebruary 20th 2014.

Agree with Andi Armitage. The only efficient city cycle hire system is one which allows the hirer to leave the bike at a destination cycle port. Cycles are a form of transport, not just things for a short spin.

RobertFebruary 21st 2014.

The city is NOT ready for this. There are as good as ZERO segregated cycle lanes / facilities, many 'designated cycling routes' that are just not safe after dark? One-way streets in the city centre, dangerous kerb narrowings and more from readers - its all true and more. I once heard 'Transport Leaders' say The Ropewalks was going to become a cycling mecca a few years ago - well yet again puncture proof tyres were punctured by the volume of glass down there thanks to all the fallout from the bars.. It's a glass no go zone! Traffic is just TOO FAST and AGGRESSIVE... reference the unchecked 'Nurburgring' surrounding the city (Edge Lane, Hall Lane, Islington, Byron St, Leeds St, The Strand, Parliament St's and on). Cyclists have to navigate / cross / use sections of these roads or ride illegal on pavements to protect themselves. Examine the speed of drivers on the radial approach roads to the city, all unchecked, barely a speed camera in comparison to other cities, with traffic passing through outer suburbs into inner suburbs maintaining its 35-40mph speed - not 30mph, NOR 20mph where zones have been introduced. . . Meanwhile Manchester received £20m for Cycling infrastructure in 2013, (Liverpool FAILED with its bid... go on start asking questions as to why?). And the patron of Manchester's bid is non other than the face of Liverpool's Cycle Hire Scheme, a certain Mr. C Boardman. Readers, would you be advocating a cycle hire scheme without any protective facilities? Yet again the City pursues vanity projects, instead of building core facilities to develop and sustain a currently very limited market, but one with good potential given targetted investment.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Star dudeFebruary 21st 2014.

Brilliant analysis. I love to cycle and I wouldn't dream of seriously using it as a mode of transport on the streets of Liverpool. It is indeed a vanity project. We'll be laughing about all the money wasted on this in a few years, or shaking our heads. Like the Kirkby ski slope.

Bill MajorFebruary 27th 2014.

Last year the bus lanes were removed from the city centre. I don't know whether this is good for cyclists or not, I know the Greens, Cllr John Coyne for example, protested strongly that it would endanger cyclists. It is a 9 month trial so time will tell. Liverpool's past history suggests that, although we have a very good Merseyrail system, our road system has rarely included cycle paths. Some roads used to have a few feet of ''cycles only'' which said a lot about the priority given to cyclists.

SpokesmanOctober 11th 2014.

I really think that Liverpool Confidential ought to do a review of the two main cycle-hire schemes to investigate their practicality, cost and the hiring experience. I wouldn't stump up £60 in advance to join a scheme that I might find to be totally impractical for me.

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