Get on yer bike for city's first cycle sharing scheme

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The world’s first dockless cycle hire scheme will expand to Leeds after the council gave it the green light today.

Operator, ofo, will now begin preparing the ground for a launch, working with Leeds City Council to determine bike numbers and hub locations after getting the backing from the Executive Board.

Leeds residents will be able to hire a lightweight, three-speed bike via the ofo smartphone app, ride it around the city and lock it again for 50p for a 30 minute journey.

The entire fleet will be fitted with bright dynamo front lights, solar-powered rear lights and a front basket. They also have a hydraulically-adjusted seats.

It will initially run in Leeds city centre and surrounding areas with the aim is to expand into the suburbs and towns as quickly as possible if it is a success.

Joseph Seal-Driver, ofo’s UK General Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to announce that ofo will be coming to Leeds – giving residents more fun, healthy options to get around the city for work and leisure.

“Our recent launch in Sheffield has been a huge success and we’re excited to see our bikes on the streets of Leeds as soon as possible. We will be working closely with the local authority to prepare for the launch – ensuring that the scheme rolls out smoothly, meets the needs of residents and is accessible to all parts of the community.”

Coun Richard Lewis, executive member for regeneration, transport and planning, said he was pleased the first bike share scheme in Leeds was coming to fruition and he had even tried one for himself.

“We have been in discussions about a bike hire scheme for some years. Early suggestions all required some form of public subsidy, whilst not providing the quality of bikes needed. Therefore it is very positive news that we have been able to resolve these issues with this new scheme; providing high quality bikes at no cost to the city.

“I’ve ridden these bikes myself and I would encourage other non-cyclists to have a go too. This scheme gives people the opportunity to cycle in Leeds without having to splash out on a bike and is a convenient way to travel in our city centre, whether for work or leisure.”

The scheme will be ofo’s second in Yorkshire after it expanded into Sheffield in January, and follows successful launches in Cambridge, Oxford, Norwich and London. The scheme is already used by 200m users in over 20 countries to make 32m trips every day.