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London Mayor says cycle hire scheme will succeed, but he fears backlash from motorists

But he fears motorists will turn on him for promoting cycling

London Mayor Boris Johnson is convinced the London Cycle Hire Scheme will be a success when it opens next summer. Mayor Boris was speaking as he faced questions about his 354-page draft Transport Strategy for London from the London Assembly's Transport Committee in The Chamber at City Hall today.

The Committee asked the Mayor about overcrowding and congestion, road user charging, his fares strategy and walking and cycling proposals. And when it came to cycling, he gave a passionate response and said he wanted to go "much further, much faster with promoting cycling", including encouraging outer London boroughs to copy the bike hire scheme due to be introduced in central London next year.

Mr Johnson said: “I’m determined the cycle hire scheme should not just be in central London. I’ve no doubt it is going to be a huge success next year. What I’m worried about is that it will be too much of a success and we won’t initially be able to cope with the demand. But it is vital outer London boroughs share the benefits of the scheme.”

He added that record spending had gone on cycling this year and said: “I think that is something people are really starting to appreciate and understand across London. I think it is something that will be of hue benefit to our city.”

The strategy outlined plans to generate a "cycling revolution" in the capital by "mainstreaming" cycling as a mode of transport by improving bike routes and increasing the number of cycle parking spaces.

But the Conservative London mayor expressed fears that his efforts to encourage people to use cycling as their main mode of transport would ultimately mean that motorists would “turn” on him.

Although the transport committee supports Johnson's bid to increase cycling as modes of transport across the city, he said: “I’m conscious of what a controversial and difficult policy this will be. I hope the support will still be there when the motorists turn on me and say they don’t want so many bikes on the road.

“This is a very big issue for us. There will come a time when the motorists say it's really all too much of a good thing and they don't want to see so many bikes, they wish people would get back in their cars and I have to say that is the right way to go. It won't be politically cost-free."

Speaking to after the Mayor's session with the Transport committee Richard Tracey AM, Conservative Transport spokesman said:

" Boris is right - there's always been underlying aggravation in London between motorists and cyclists, but both sides must keep their cool and mind their road manners.

" I certainly want to see the bike hire scheme succeed across the capital. It's important that the cycling revolution spreads to the outer London boroughs too, and isn't just confined to central London."

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Tony Farrelly | 14 years ago

Well the swipe of a credit card bit will be the same, not sure about the free of charge for 30 mins though, is anything in London free of charge for 30 mins?

fennesz | 14 years ago

Is this going to be similar to the model in Paris i.e. FOC for the first 30 minutes with the swipe of a credit cards?

Mike McBeth | 14 years ago

I'm guessing that this is a bit of more of Boris' bluewash - the mayor says that he fears that the London cycle hire scheme will be 'too much of a success' but as he's only planned for there to be 6,000 hire bikes at the launch in a city with 8 million people (and that's not counting tourists), there's not likely to be many hire bikes available when and where people need them! Mainline railway and underground stations won't have hire points - because hire bikeswould be too popular there. Boris' so-called cycle super-highways are nothing more than blue stripes painted on the road, which will probably end up having cars parked in them (wonder why he went for blue?).

Fixie Fred | 14 years ago

One more cyclist means One less car in front of the the motorist in the jam !

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