What a difference a day makes. One minute you’re happily riding the streets of London with actress and model Kelly Brook. The next you’re being told you can’t hire bikes from your flagship cycle hire scheme in your own street.
That’s what happened to London Mayor Boris Johnson, after Islington council rejected plans for a bike docking station for the London Cycle Hire Scheme in the street where he lives at a town hall meeting last night.
It came after 15 of the Mayor's neighbours opposed an application by Transport for London to install 35 automated bike racks in Colebrooke Row. They supported residents who complained the bike racks could lead to increased noise and crime and would not be in keeping with the Georgian terraces in the street, despite Islington's planning officers recommending the application be approved.
Transport for London (TfL) wants 10,200 cycle racks at 400 computer-operated docking station sites and so far planning permission has been granted to just over 200.
The scheme will launch next summer with 6,000 hire bicycles based in the nine London boroughs and several Royal Parks that make up London’s zone one travel area, and is expected to generate around 40,000 extra cycle trips a day in central London as well as help ease congestion on the tube and buses.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London told The London Evening Standard: "He is disappointed to hear that potential cyclists in his neighbourhood who may then wish to take part in the capital's cycle revolution might have to walk a little further to find a docking station.
“However he is pleased to note that planning permission has already been granted for more than 200 of the 400 docking stations required for the initial launch of the scheme and he is sure that TfL and the Borough Council will be able to find the best possible locations for docking stations in Islington."
Mayor Boris is a huge supporter of Cycling in the capital and teamed up with Miss Brook yesterday to officially launch the Mayor of London’s Skyride, which takes place on Sunday, September 20. The route for the free event will take riders past landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and the Tower of London and will feature St James's Park and the river views of the Embankment.
He also joined novice cyclists on one of the recent Cycle Friday guided rides into central London, which are designed to give an opportunity to those who are tempted to cycle but who are too nervous of London’s roads.