Attwood proposes Belfast Bike Scheme

SDLP councillor, Tim Attwood, has proposed a Belfast Bike Scheme similar to the one launched in Dublin on Sunday.
He has tabled a motion for debate at next month’s City Council meeting.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good man. Wondered what hewas cooking when he bowled up to NICVA on the bike last week.

    Presumably he can count on the support of bike devotee and former Lord Mayor Tom Hartley.

    Although I suspect ‘bike laning’ might have better overall effect on boosting the use of bikes in the city…

  • Quagmire

    Good idea.

  • Peter

    Good to see. First place I saw these bikes was in Paris and I think they’d be great here, particularly since the transport system in Belfast is so terrible.

  • Mack

    We may have had our first fatality after just two days unfortunately. We need proper cycle lanes in the city centre (not road markings) – and aren’t trucks supposed to be banned from the quays?

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0915/rta.html

    http://www.politics.ie/current-affairs/102669-cyclist-dies-after-being-hit-truck-dublin.html

  • Coll Ciotach

    No – bad idea. Next thing is cycle lanes all over the place, unless, of course, cyclists are willing to pay for them.

  • Mack

    Coll Ciotach –

    How about less traffic on the roads = shorter & safer commutes for drivers? Less money spent importing petrol & diesel is more money that can be spent on jobs in the local the economy.. Most cyclists have cars too (so they’re already paying road tax)..

  • Gram

    It amazes me why better use isn’t made of the pavements as possible segregated bike lanes. in the city centre itself the pavements are heavily used And this is less of an option but on the routes into the city the pavements should double as cycle lanes.

  • Animus

    We all pay for the roads through a number of taxes (including of course road tax). The money spent on roads compared to cycle lanes and pedestrian walkways is shocking and actually encourages road use rather than other forms of transport.

    I’ve noticed many many cyclists out the past few days – great to see it. The link above didn’t work – what is the nature of the scheme?

  • Coll Ciotach

    I am all for les traffic on roads, but here is another idea – build more roads and get the civil engineers working.

    Let us have 21st century roads, (just wait until the economy in the south gets going and they will pay for it), instead of the goat tracks the English have installed.

    As for the pavements. That is bloody dangerous. nearly got annihilated by crazy teutonic tree huggers in Cologne. Madness.

  • Mack

    Animus – Free rent of a bike for less than half an hour after that a small charge.

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2009/0913/bicycles.html

    According to p.ie it wasn’t a dublin bike involved in the collision.

  • Gram

    Coll, after Reading about your experience in cologne I’ve now reversed my opinion on using pavements as bike lanes.

  • random_quotes

    Bloody English eh Coll Ciotach…what’d they ever do for us?

  • It’s a bit of a joke this Dublin Bike scheme. After all you have to have a credit card to use it and you have to lodge a deposit of €150 before you get on a bike. That makes it a scheme for the middle classes. I’m a cyclist myself and €150 would buy you a fairly decent bike to get around a city.

    Until such time as Dublin and Irish city drivers become a bit more humble on the roads, allowing others to use the highways and byways, this appears to be to be something for the optics rather than a genuine reform.

  • Mack

    Gram –

    It can work if the pavements are widened and the cycle lanes are clearly demarcated.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Theft has proved a big problem in bike rental schemes across Europe. Nice introduced a scheme called Velo-Bleu recently and almost 150 bikes were stolen in the first few weeks: http://www.nicematin.com/ra/nice/211718/nice-plus-de-cent-velos-bleus-deja-voles

  • Paul

    In Zürich they have a similar scheme. You can hire a bike for FREE for up to 5 hours. To hire you must leave a 20CHF deposit and your passport/National ID Card. The passport seems to work to prevent you from stealing the bike – they also scrutinise the passports in quite some detail before they’ll give you the bike.

    Bike lanes in Switzerland are also everywhere – they make a HUGE difference to how safe you feel on a bike in a city – Belfast could do with a big improvement in this area.

  • Paul

    … I also agree with Concubhar O Liathain that the Dublin bike scheme does seem a bit of a rip-off in comparison to the Zürich one, especially the €150 deposit which would indeed buy you a basic bike.

    (not often that I would say that you are ripped off more somewhere else than you are in Switzerland!!!)

  • Paul

    @ Coll Ciotach – forget the eco nonsense – I assume you are a fat b*stard who hasn’t done any exercise in years? The main benefit of cycling is that there is no more effortless and time-efficient form of exercise than cycling to work and back – try it – after I started doing it every day you notice yourself feeling much more alert and definitely much more productive.

    As for the pavements as bike lanes – this is no problem if the pavement is wide enough and the division between cyclists and pedestrians is clearly marked.

  • Moochin Photoman

    As a cyclist i am in favour of more cycle lanes but it still won’t make it that much safer until the mindsets of drivers is changed.
    It’s bloody dangerous plain and simple.
    I use the pavement all the time and i will make no apology for it.
    Twice in a week i have had people step in front of me slabbering that i shouldn’t be on the pavement and that it was for pedestrians. Fair point but what happens when cars are parked on the cycle lane…..

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/23386031@N00/3752382012/

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    As I understand there is no actual deposit – you give your card details on the understanding that you pay €150 if the bike isn’t returned which I think is fair enough.

    What isn’t fair is that it excludes people without cards but is there an alternative? (re the Swiss scheme – we don’t have ID cards & the truth is that people who have passports tend to have c cards as well). And of coure this isn’t Switzerland – anything under €150 snd there will be enough people will take the piss out of the scheme to fukk it up within weeks.

  • michael

    I’d love more cycle lanes in Belfast, however, if the people who install them are to be the same yetis that are responsible for those already existing, then leave it!

    At some places, they had the clever idea of having cycle lanes traveling in the opposite direction to the motor vehicle traffic. Not good for night time cycling, I can tell ye!

    Having said that, some of them are great! Beside the Lagan in south Belfast for example.

  • RepublicanStones

    Not sure if this dublin bike scheme will wheely take off. As COL says it is a bit restrictive with the 150Euro deposit and CC needed.
    Much better to keep your 150 and use the tax exemption scheme the govt operate to encourage bike users.

    http://www.biketowork.ie/site/employee-information/employee-faqs/

    Now all i need to do is find me a tricked out old school Mongoose, stunt pegs and all !

  • Paul

    Tochais Sioraiͭ, ah I see – you only give them your card details. In that case the Dublin scheme is not as bad as I thought. One advantage of the Dublin scheme would be that it is automated.

    As for those moaning about credit cards, well there is really no excuse for not having a credit card these days. It’s not a “middle class thing” either, as it costs nothing to own a credit card – only the foolish don’t pay credit card bills on time.

  • Would be cyclists also need to leave €150 deposit using either a credit card or a bank draft, which will be used if the bike is not returned.

    This is what the RTE report said – it’s fairly clear. You need to pay a deposit in advance and €150 is not an insignificant sum.

    Fair enough, people should pay their credit card bills – if they’re able to get a credit card these days.

    This is very much a middle class scheme – as if Dublin doesn’t have enough public transport. Luas, Dart, Bus. Perhaps it would work if cars and lorries were banned from the city centre…

  • Paul

    @Concubhar

    No, that is not the case. There is no deposit in advance. It’s clearly bad journalism from RTE.

    The official website here:
    http://www.dublinbikes.ie/how_does_it_work/frequently_asked_questions/subscriptions

    says:
    “On subscription, you also authorise the provider to request a €150 guarantee from your account. This amount will not be debited unless the bike is not returned after a period of 24 hours.”

  • Turgon

    I cycled for years in Belfast. It was about as fast as a car during rush hour. However, I was accidentally hit once and twice was actually attacked by drivers. Drivers attitudes are very poor and I was scrupulously law abiding including red lights, not cycling on pavements etc.

    Further problems are that employers do not always have showers etc. or changing places.

    There are also simple practical problems: outside the very centre Belfast has more hills than people think especially North Belfast obviously but also other places. The weather is also poor for cycling.

    Despite all that, however, proper cycle lanes would help. I would also commend bus drivers who were in my experience very accommodating on shared bus / cycle lanes.

  • RepublicanStones

    Turgon if you were to talk to yourself and blink erratically, perhaps throw in a nervous twitch, whilst cycling, im pretty sure you’ll find the drivers giving you a wide berth in future.

  • borderline

    Yeah, it’s a middle-class scheme because you have to promise to pay €150 if you erm lose the bike.

    I know Concubhar, let’s make it €20 for the honest-to-God bleedin’ Dub working classes, eh?

    Jaysus wept.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Why the venom in this debate? You’re acting like cyclepaths.

  • Tochais Si­orai­

    Well spoken, Nordie.

  • Ulster McNulty

    Turgon

    “There are also simple practical problems: outside the very centre Belfast has more hills than people think especially North Belfast obviously but also other places.”

    Yes, and north Belfast has more sectarian interfaces as well, some of them on hills, what happens to cyclists caught going the wrong way up the wrong hill?

  • Danny O’Connor

    The current mileage scheme could/should be amended for public sector workers,who cares how they get to work-as long as they get there safely.
    If cyclists received the same mileage allowance as drivers,there would at least,be an incentive to leave the car at home.
    This would take some cars off the road,especially in the greater Belfast area,as would extending flexi-time hours to 7 or 8 pm,nobody would be compelled to work late ,but a public service would be extended as well as taking traffic off the road at peak times – making it safer for cyclists.