BIKES for hire are a common sight in Europe and were so embraced by the then Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, when they were introduced in our Capital city that they became known as “Boris Bikes”.
Leeds almost had its own version, but a proposed partnership failed at the last minute back in 2017. Now the council is reviving the scheme, which will mean cyclists can rent a bike at a docking station for a period of time. They would then deposit the bike at a drop off point near their destination.
The scheme has not been without its glitches. Perhaps there is something to be said for being a bit late to the party as lessons learned the hard way elsewhere can mean the same mistakes wouldn’t happen here, such as bikes being dumped in gardens or canals.
But who is this scheme aimed at and what is its aim? Regular cyclists will have their own bikes, proper gear and somewhere to get changed. Is it really a practical transport alternative for a meeting - with bags and laptops to carry too? Visitors wanting explore the city perhaps? But in that case Leeds is compact enough to walk around.
Maybe it will encourage those whose commute is short - it’s certainly quicker on a bike. Leeds City Council and those tendering for this will have to show there is a market and an appetite for this scheme and know where to site them for maximum use.