Brighton is set to adopt the ‘Boris Bike’ scheme with more than 430 bikes will be available from hubs across the city.
The cheap, small distance bike hiring system was initially introduced to the capital by former London mayor Ken Livingstone in 2010.
The popularity of the scheme has meant it will now be adopted by Brighton, Bristol and Bath in the coming years. The scheme is planned to be in place by May 2017.
The system works by allowing anyone to pay by debit or credit card to access a bike for £2 per day, with the first 30 minute journey being free. Longer journeys cost £2 for each extra 30 minutes. Bikes can then be returned to any free docking point.
Patrick, 19, says:“I think it’s wicked, more people on bikes can only be better to reduce traffic.”
There are hints that the ‘Boris Bikes’ have been a success. According to ITV News, customer research in 2013 showed that 49 per cent of members who used the service say that the scheme has prompted them to start cycling in London.
Councillor Gill Mitchell, lead member for environment and sustainability at Brighton & Hove City Council said: “This is an exciting scheme that should work well for the city. The aim is to provide a flexible service, working alongside existing cycle hire providers and which gives more choice to those who live, work or visit here.”
There was student concern that the Boris bikes would take up much needed parking space for privately owned bikes. A member of FreeWheelers, a bike society group at Sussex, said: “The trouble is there is already a lack of space to lock up bikes in Brighton so I don’t know how logistically that would work.”
A separate report from the council has called for additional bike parking across the city. These parking places were introduced in 2008 and can now hold more than 600 bikes at 61 locations in Brighton.
Councillor Gill Mitchell said: “We know there is a demand from residents for increased cycle parking facilities and we are very pleased to be able to respond to these requests.”
Environmental issues could be a motivating factor to get on bikes. Lewes Road has 50% more nitrogen oxide, a polluting gas, in its air than the EU legal limit.
With reference to students living on Lewes Road, Lyndsay Burtonshaw, Activities Officer, said: “There’s probably a lot of those people who could use bikes and maybe want to and just don’t have the access to it at the moment, so I think it’s a really good scheme because it will get more people riding, and that’s what we need in a congested city like ours.”
There is already a student based biking scheme at the university. Students can hire bikes refurbished by the RE:CYCLE society for £20 per term, or £50 for the full academic year, all subject to a refundable deposit.
Kacy said: “With that scheme in place I don’t see why students would use the Boris bikes, but then again those who don’t live on campus probably would want that.”