London's cycle hire scheme gets the lorry safety message

As you all know by now London is soon to launch it's new Cycle Hire Scheme (sponsored by Barclays, no less.) Based on Montreal's successful bike sharing scheme Bixi, from July 30th some 6000 robust hire bikes will be available on London's streets.  I for one can't wait.

I've said here many times before that sometimes the safety messages surrounding cycling get a bit scrambled.  Too often the focus is on helmets and high viz, or 'how risky' cycling is, when of course the focus should be on how the roads should be made safer for all, and on where the dangers really lay.

Transport for London could have got their messages horribly wrong in promoting the new cycle hire scheme, but it seems they are right on point.  They've produced a reasonable list of things you should avoid doing (cycling on drugs, that sort of thing) and some you should consider doing, like using designated cycle lanes and obeying traffic signals.  It's a long shot from Melbourne in Australia where they've just launched their own Bixi scheme and people hiring the bikes have to bring a bike helmet with them (or, get this, purchase them from a local 7/11) due to Australia's ridiculous mandatory cycle helmet laws.

There are of course some dangers involved in cycling, just as there is in everything in life.  To avoid slipping in the shower you put a shower mat down. To avoid the biggest threat to cyclists, TfL are putting the following diagram on the handle bars of every single hire bike:


It's good to see the right message is getting out there, let's hope it helps where it matters and, along with the upsurge in cycling rates this new scheme is sure to bring, will help to keep cycling as the safe everyday and ordinary activity that we all know it to be.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Something that seems to have been missed by many people is that the safety of Cycle Hire users will largely depend on drivers acting responsibly.

The sticker on the bike is sensible advice, but will there be similar messages aimed at drivers insisting that they never turn left if it endangers a pedestrian or cyclist.

http://www.lcc.org.uk/index.asp?Pageid=1864

Mike Cavenett
Communications officer
London Cycling Campaign

Mark said...

Hello Mike, thanks for taking the time to stop by and give your comment. I'm pleased that the LCC have issued that story which states quite clearly that the onus is on drivers to look out for 'more vulnerable' users such as ourselves.

I do think that we can educate ourselves to ride safely, and that's where things like the sticker on the bike come in handy, but I agree that the top priority needs to be ultimately with the most dangerous road users.

We shall see what TfL come up with, I'm assuming that there will be a lot of press and publicity when the scheme launches and hopefully they will make a statement along the lines of what we are discussing then.