Bike borrowing schemes are certainly an innovative and interesting concept.
We have often said that more needs to be done to sort out our public transport system and the addition of bikes could be a useful part of the solution.
In terms of public transport, there isn’t really a healthier option than pedal power and so we welcome the idea that people might be able to borrow a bike to get around Portsmouth in the future.
If the city council’s bid is successful we could see bikes installed at Portsmouth’s five rail stations and that would give both residents and visitors a chance to use them.
Picking a bike up at one station, exploring and returning it to another is a nice idea and has worked well in other cities in the UK and across Europe.
If there is to be an hourly charge applied it is crucial that it should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Bike borrowing should not be used as a money-spinner. A scheme like this must be inclusive to all and it won’t be if the charge is set too high.
If the council gets the go-ahead it must also make sure that the right provisions – such as a network of cycle paths – are already in place.
We are lucky because Portsmouth is flat and that means it’s a great place to cycle. But a cyclist will tell you that there needs to be an infrastructure, as well as a lack of hilly terrain. And anyone who travels around Portsmouth – whether it be by car, bike or bus – will know space is tight.
Many people found flaws with the cycle lane scheme unveiled at Southsea seafront last year. The same issues can’t be allowed to happen again if the bike borrowing plan gets the go-ahead.
Our train companies must also ask themselves if they are doing all that they can to make sure residents are able to cycle to their nearest station and take their bikes with them.
As far as bike borrowing is concerned, there is still some way to go. But should the council’s bid be approved, we hope we can be travelling in the right direction – quickly.