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Resident protests keep 1000 Boris bikes off the streets

Londoners object to Barclay’s Cycle Hire docking stations

Around 1,000 Boris bikes are unavailable to use in the Barclay’s Cycle Hire scheme because of planning protests from London residents.

The Standard reports that councils have refused to grant permission for 76 docking stations, meaning that Transport for London have only been able to put 5,000 of the 6,000 hire bikes on the street.

A group of Bloomsbury residents claimed it would be a “violation of their human rights” if a docking station were to be built outside their mansion block.

Another complaint said that bikes positioned under a tree would be covered in bird droppings. Other residents have expressed concern that drunken revellers indulging in “horseplay” might use the bikes. One Kensington resident said anybody wanting to cycle “will already own a bike”.

The Standard found that Westminster council has refused 29 docking stations. Twelve have been refused in Kensington and Chelsea, seven in Camden, six each in Islington — including one in Boris Johnson's own street — the City of London and Lambeth, five in Southwark, two each in the Royal Parks and in Tower Hamlets and one in Hackney.

The shortage of docking stations has left 1,000 bikes stranded in TfL contactor Serco's depot in Islington. It’s also led to complaints about shortages of bikes at Waterloo and other mainline stations, and of docking stations around Covent Garden. Serco has now deployed staff to Waterloo to ensure there are extra bikes and docking points during rush hours.

Camden council's planning committee turned down an application for a 30-bike docking station in Torrington Place, Bloomsbury, after 30 residents turned up to complain.

Andrew Marshall, a Tory member of the committee, called on other public organisations in central London, such as universities and hospitals, to help find space for docking stations.

A TfL spokeswoman said: “We have worked closely with the boroughs to identify the most suitable locations for docking stations and, as the planning authorities, they make the final decision and 76 sites that we applied for were turned down.

“We will continue to work with the boroughs to add to these... and remain on track to have 400 docking stations across the centre of the capital.”

Lifelong lover of most things cycling-related, from Moulton Mini adventures in the 70s to London bike messengering in the 80s, commuting in the 90s, mountain biking in the noughties and road cycling throughout. Editor of Simpson Magazine ( 

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