liverpool-bike

Today (13th December) it’s been announced Liverpool City Council are pushing forward with proposals for a cycle hire scheme within the city.

From summer 2013, Liverpool would have 300 bikes available in the city centre, rising to 1,000 over the following 18 months across the entire city and outlying suburbs.

Bikes would be hired via a cash card or mobile phone at various key places dotted around, and they’d be available to hire 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The £1.5 million funding for the scheme would cover the costs of bikes, bike stations and improvements in cycling infrastructure (which is completely crucial if a scheme like this gets off the ground) within the city. The council also hopes to establish links with key tourism, sites, educational institutions and major city centre employers over the cycle hire scheme – so you could end up biking to work, the lovely Mersey wind blowing through your luscious hair, rather than travelling with screaming children and miserable commuters on the bus.

The environmental effects are obvious, and the council are keen to say that it’s a response to the increase in people living and working in the city centre – ie, there’s a tonne of traffic, gross fumes and congestion. Joe Anderson says the scheme would “reduce reliance on the car and to offer a low carbon, low cost, healthier way to get around Liverpool”.

The proposals will be looked over and considered by the city council’s Mayoral Cabinet on Friday 21 December, with an announcement expected shortly afterwards. It follows London’s successful bike hire scheme (known to some as the ‘Boris Bikes’, after that bloke who pushed them through), which launched in 2010 and has 570 stations across the city.

What do we reckon? Well, it’s a great idea. The bike scheme had some teething problems in London, but they’ve been a huge success – both financially, and in terms of popularity with punters. It could also be really crucial to open up the bits of our city that don’t have proper transport infrastructure (the Baltic Triangle, for example, could really benefit from this) and encourages people – both locals and tourists – to let loose and explore their city a little more. And we’re all for that.

  • The Flâneur

    Does this mean the Council will
    be removing some of the one-way systems and blocked-off streets that makes
    legal cycling around Liverpool city centre so frustrating? Or will cyclists be
    expected to break the law, ride on pavements, etc.?

    And all those dangerous bits of pavement that pointlessly jut out into the
    road?

  • bornagainst

    I’d support any cycle scheme for Liverpool, but there are surely a number of quite major issues that would need to be addressed – and 1.5M funding won’t go very far.

    Just as an example. Ride from the bombed out church to Tithebarn St. No pavements, no wrong way down a one way road, no red light jumping, no being a knob head.

    Honestly – it’s a tough, tough ride, that puts cyclists through bad junction after bad junction. With my wits about me and riding ‘primary position’, it ain’t a problem, but anyone less assured in cycling would surely find it very off putting.

    I can easily see a situation where ‘boris bikes’ are introduced and then everyone just rides them on the pavement up and down Church St… with all the associated anti social cycling issues.

  • Hopeful of cycle scheme

    at last! the roads are a nightmare for cycling around Liverpool safely. Try cycling from Princes Park to Catharine St without nearly getting clipped by wing mirrors or falling into a giant pot-hole. I hope this scheme doesn’t turn into a tram fiasco – so close yet due to political incompetence, so very, very far.

  • a bike with no name

    Cities the world over are moving toward hire schemes, with varying degrees of success. Replicating London is not always wise; reference the shambolic proposals for congestion charging in Manchester… After the initial grant funding is used to deliver docking infrastructure / bikes, what kind of revenue support will the scheme require? Take Barclays millions of support away in London and is the scheme financially viable? No, annual fee’s are being doubled in 2013 and that’s still with all Barclays funding and mass-investment in cycling superhighways to encourage safe cycling / greater participation to bring in revenue!!

    City centre 15-year plans recently outlined are a considerable step in the right direction, freeing-up our bus choked central streets, encouraging more safer, city cycling. It therefore strikes me that today’s announcement is somewhat premature?

    Ask any daily cyclist in the city what they face; a wall of buses is often quoted, as with having to make illegal moves to stay safe owing to poor road design, regardless of surrounding vehicle speed (often at 20mph or under according to my bike computer). Our recent city-centre movement strategy did little to benefit cycling safety as KSI’s are up in line with cycling patronage – and the Dept. for Transport now states cycling should not be an afterthought in road design. A little too late?

    Other cities have provided cycle lanes through their premier shopping streets to compliment introduced bike hire schemes (reference Antwerp’s scheme and Meir St). Comparables would be Bold St. / Church St. / Paradise L1 St. / Whitechapel marked up as a critical axis for safe navigation across the city, away from such delights as Renshaw St. / Hanover St / Lord St.. Our pedestrianised zones do not allow cycling 10am-4pm, and unfortunately the local track record on delivering cycle lanes is indifferent. The long-standing mentality is understandable; one of on-road integration through a lack of budget / more pressing issues to spend money on.

    Joe Anderson described our sustainable, integrated transport leaders Merseytravel as treating cycling ‘as a Cinderella form of transport’ in The Times ‘Cities fit for Cycling’ Campaign (pre-election..). There’s no finer example of this than should you visit our much talked about new Merseytravel HQ at Mann Island by bike, there are no public bike
    stands!! As for connecting the Baltic Triangle, yes, such a scheme would offer positives. Consider the recent public realm upgrade of Jamaica St. This forms part of one of the
    ‘Radial Cycle Routes’ long campaigned for by the Merseyside Cycling Campaign (follows Grafton St to Cockburn St to Dingle Rd). Plans for on road cycle lane markings were
    dropped, the carriageway width was narrowed (almost to an extent that 2 buses would not be able to pass each other), and the squeeze with motorists continues up and down from the Park Lane roundabout, where this latter roads considerable width could be put to good bicycle lane use without hindering motorists. So, cyclists get squeezed, and what could have been a visible, protecting cycle lane through the Baltic Triangle to the edge of central town is no more. Every little helps / would help the incoming bike scheme.

    And there’s the issue reluctantly being side-stepped by our politicians. Both motorist and cyclist surveys the UK over all say the same thing, cycle lanes and increased segregation for safety and encouragement to get people on their bikes. As London
    illustrates, safety in numbers / familiarisation with cyclists does not work. The KSI rate is rising along with cycling numbers, regardless of the average speed in central London being 11mph. 20mph zones are most welcome and will improve safety in those areas, yet owing to the patchwork of lanes, routes, facilities offering on road protection in Liverpool, accidents will inevitably happen. UK evidence highlights that such KSI’s occur on 30mph+ roads that cyclists inevitably get channelled toward once exiting parks… and residential 20mph zones. Politically, that’s going to be very interesting…KSI’s = targeting not side-stepping funding to address safety.

    I’m in favour of introducing a scheme, but would like to see for safety’s sake a re-jigged, simpler cycling strategy offering visible protection on core ‘superhighway’ cycle routes linking bike hire stations outside of the city eg Newsham or Sefton Parks. That way more cyclists would head to ride in them, justify investment and give the scheme a visible boost by offering ‘core fingers’ in/out of the city. Time for Joe to take the bull by the horns and steer Merseytravel’s next Local Transport Plan 4 from 2015?

  • Pingback: Liverpool to get huge bike hire scheme in 2013? « pictocommunication()

  • Hopeful of cycle scheme

    sounds like you don’t think this will happen, abwnn.

  • Share the City

    This is great news. It sends a message that Liverpool finally recognises and respects cyclists, hitherto treated at best with indifference, and, too often, with murderous contempt (the honourable exceptions being MerseyRail and the Ferries).

    I agree with all the comments, especially about the racetrack ring road, three lane one way systems and walls of empty buses. The hope must be that a Mayoral lead on this will bring forward culture change. Bike with No Name is spot on to say it must not take any more ‘Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) people to force this change, when a single walk or ride round the city centre can identify numerous blindingly obvious ‘easy wins’.

    And yes, before the next phase we have a chance to think carefully about ‘hubs’ (ahem) in the ring of parks, and spokes along and parallel to the diesel drenched radial routes.

    Ever tried crossing from Durning to Tunnel Road over the 5 way Pentagon of Death by the Job Bank? Every lamp column has dead flowers attached. It must keep the unemployment figures down, but I’d say the KSI maps resulting from such negligence deserve wider coverage. And £70m on Edge Lane, with no bike lanes…?

  • Andyohare

    Agreed, and yet between Princes Park and Catharine Street there’s already a great place to put a safe cycle lane – down the middle of boulevard. Come on, let’s put some thought into this!

  • a bike with no name

    Certainly like it to go ahead and stand the test of time, as opposed to it being a grant grab for token greenwashing ahead of European Green Capital status bidding. Sustaining the scheme financially is paramount.

    Careful out there drivers and riders on the Nurburgring encircling our city centre.

  • Pat

    This is a really informed, and informative, post. Thanks for that.

    (My only quibble is in the final paragraph. Having lived at Newsham Park for a couple years recently, I can say having a bike hire station there is a monumentally bad idea. That is, if you value the bikes and want to keep them intact!)

  • Rich

    well said dude, nice ditty