But is the infrastructure in place to ensure cyclists are safe?

Belfast council has confirmed that the city is to get its own version of the Boris Bike by Spring 2015 with 30 docking stations located throughout the city. However, critics are questioning whether this scheme alone will win people over and are calling for improvements to cycle infrastructure.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that installation work on docking stations is to begin next month, with locations including Central Station, the Odyssey, Millfield, Carrickhill, the Gasworks and Dunbar Link. Users can pay £20 for a year-long subscription or £5 for a three-day pass. The first 30 minutes of every journey are free with incremental charges from then on.

It is hoped that the development will encourage more people to cycle after recent figures depicted what environmental campaigners described as a ‘car-first’ transport policy in Northern Ireland.

Transport minister, Danny Kennedy, said:

"As 'pedal power' continues to grow here, we must all harness the momentum and continue to develop each opportunity to make cycling an everyday, safe, accessible and fun activity for all.

"Charges for the bike hire scheme are very competitive and I am confident it will provide an attractive, sustainable and inexpensive transport system for local people and visitors."

Belfast city councillor Deirdre Hargey said the pricing had been set so as to be as affordable as possible to as many people as possible with the aim of encouraging people to make short trips around the city by bike.

However, writing in the Belfast Telegraph, Malachi O’Doherty, feels that people new to cycling first need to be provided with better infrastructure to ensure they feel safe.

“We will not see the promised benefits in reduced health costs and pollution if people – who today are unfit – aren't won over to cycling, and if those who think they can get to work faster in their cars don't see a comfortable and safe alternative.”

Earlier this year, Londoners and visitors to the city were able to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the launch of the Barclays hire scheme by borrowing bikes for free. It was also revealed that July had seen the highest ever monthly usage with 1,170,000 hires.

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.


MartyMcCann [277 posts] 3 years ago

While I support the idea in principle, the docking stations in my opinion are too focussed on the city centre as opposed to the outlaying areas. For example the top of the Ormeau Rd has a large proportion of students and young professionals who would be an ideal target group for using these bikes to get to college or work. However if the closest docking station is Cromac Street and they are heading into the city centre they will almost be at their destination and will have no incentive to then park their cars and take a bike the rest of the way. Most of the traffic problems start on the roads into the city so surely it would make more sense to move the docking stations to the outskirts?

Some Fella [890 posts] 3 years ago

Cycle hire schemes are a sexy, 'Look - we are encouraging cycling' photo opportunity for politicians and are cheaper and less contentious than putting in decent segregated infrastructure.
Hence their current popularity in Britain.

Exup [46 posts] 3 years ago

This is good news. There are efforts being made by government to build cycling infrastructure such as cycle lanes and restrict some traffic on key roads.
However, at present Belfast is a very dangerous place to cycle.
Summer and winter, I commute to work on the Comber Greenway and some main roads into the City. I see no attempt by any organisation or group to manage the shared areas: - dog walkers not keeping dogs under control and on leads (dog warden refuses to take any responsibility) , cars routinely using bus lanes (rarely snared by Police) and cars/taxis dropping off passengers at Central Station instead of the designated drop-off point (no cameras or any enforcement).
I know this shared use 'frustration' is happening in other UK Cities too, but a simple, semi-intelligent & joined up strategy would be useful, before inexperienced 'family' cyclists on are thrown to the slaughter on hired Belfast "Danny" bikes.