The brakes go on in Edinburgh for public bike hire scheme

Edinburgh bike hire scheme is go, go....er, stop

by nick_rearden   May 14, 2010  

road.cc news

Cyclists are this morning criticising Edinburgh council chiefs who have severely cut back a proposed bike hire scheme along the lines of those already running in Paris and Barcelona and about to run in London in July.

Edinburgh is the only UK city to have signed up to the Charter of Brussels, a commitment to cycling which would see bikes account for 15 per cent of all journeys in Edinburgh by 2020. The bike hire scheme was a major element in the plan to reduce car dependency.

However, according to the Scotsman this morning, council sources are insisting that the scheme is not yet a "dead duck", adding that discussions are under way with potential advertisers who could help fund the project.

Chris Hill, who runs the City Cycling Edinburgh blog, said the council was failing in its obligations following its "headline-grabbing" signature of the European charter. He said: "Certainly the council is lukewarm about the whole idea of a bike share scheme. Other schemes have been funded by advertising, but they have not got the sorts of money they had in London or Paris.

"The reality in Paris is that lots more people are cycling, so it has been a good thing. The council needs to spend a lot more on cycling, but this is symptomatic of how seriously they are taking their responsibility."

It now seems that a city-wide scheme has been dropped in favour of a smaller alternative, with a just a few bikes at one or two locations.

Tory councillor Iain Whyte, who first proposed the scheme after seeing one in operation on a trip to Lyon, said: "This sounds very disappointing when other cities in Europe have managed to do it at little or no cost by using advertising revenues.

"I would still hope there's an opportunity to have a much bigger scheme in the future, with bikes at all of the tram stops."