BIKE shops are being urged to do more to get residents into cycling in an effort to improve traffic flow in and out of Portsmouth.
MP for Portsmouth North Penny Mordaunt has written to bike firm Wiggle and independent cycle traders in the city see if they would loan out their bikes to the public.
Ms Mordaunt says some people are put off paying a lot of money for a new bike, and would feel more comfortable having the option of using one for a couple of weeks at a time to fit in with their lifestyle.
And she believes it would get more people out of their cars using bikes, helping to unblock roads, which are already struggling to cope.
Ms Mordaunt said the idea was suggested through a transport survey she carried out with constituents before the general election.
And bike campaigners say they support the idea and hope companies get on board.
Getting more people on bikes is great, but where will they go and will they be safe?Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt
‘My transport survey found that one of the obstacles to people taking up cycling is the initial amount of money you have to put forward for a new bike,’ Ms Mordaunt said.
‘It’s quite an outlay for a good bike and they may not want to pay a lot of money and commit if it doesn’t fit in with their busy lifestyle.
‘We could see a situation instead where people are able to try out a bike for a couple of weeks, then they could lend that bike to someone else for a couple of weeks.’
She added: ‘We need to be looking at radical schemes that will help to ease problems with congestion and parking in Portsmouth. We also need to be looking at the public services we run in the city. The council knows we need to extend the park-and-ride.’
Jon Spencer, of Portsmouth Cycle Forum, welcomed the idea but said roads need improving. ‘Hire bikes are quite a thing at the moment and we would support anything that gets people to try cycling,’ he said.
‘The Boris bike scheme is often mentioned, and it could be something that’s looked at in Portsmouth.’
‘But politicians should be really focusing on making the roads safer.
‘Getting more people on bikes is great, but where will they go and will they be safe?’