Boris Johnson is set to trial the hire of e-bikes in an area of North London not currently covered by the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, in an initiative agreed in principle with the London Borough of Haringey. The proposed trial is subject to a feasibility study and planning permission.
The bikes would be situated at docking stations along ‘corridors’ that will extend northwards from Finsbury Park to Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Alexandra Palace.
In Paris, operators of the Vélib’ scheme discovered early after its launch that residents of areas such as Montmartre were commuting downhill by bike in the morning then returning home by other means in the evening.
After the pattern of use was identified, operators of the scheme ensured that docking stations were regularly replenished early on in the day.
The hilly terrain of North London means that it has been deemed unsuitable for a northwards extension of the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme, however.
The e-bike trial – similar schemes exist in hilly cities such as Genoa in Italy and San Francisco – means that locals would be able to more or less coast downhill towards Finsbury Park, then use power assistance for the return journey, or vice-versa.
While the area of the trial, assuming it goes ahead, would not overlap with Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme – which doesn’t extend north beyond the Regent’s Canal in the southern part of Islington – Finsbury Park is a major transport interchange that offers surface and underground options for onward travel.
The bikes’ batteries would be recharged at the docking stations and the trial – the first of its kind in the UK – would be funded out of Transport for London’s £913 million fund to develop cycling in the capital.
Mr Johnson said: “E-bikes are already big on the continent because they take the puff and pant out of cycling.
“Once again, London is leading the way in Britain with new cycling innovations and the elevated latitudes of Haringey are perfect for this trial.”
Claire Kober, leader of Haringey Council, added: “We’re really excited to welcome e-bikes to Haringey – and to become Britain’s first e-bikes borough.
“This project with the Mayor of London underpins our commitment to being one of the capital’s greenest boroughs and to promoting and rewarding greener travel through improved cycling facilities and sustainable transport across Haringey.
“Together, we can encourage more people to leave their cars at home and offer the next generation of cyclists safer and better routes around our borough.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.