Friday, 30 July 2010

Is today the high point of Boris Johnson's term?

The Cycle Superhighways had a mixed reception and Cycle Fridays was an almost comical failure but has Boris Johnson finally struck gold with his cycle hire scheme?

After repeated failed attempts to register online, I finally managed to sign up via the call centre, and I'm looking forward to getting my key and having a go.

There are lots of problems with the scheme, the biggest of which are the overly complex registration process, and the severe shortage of stations in South London and outside zone one.

But grumbling aside I think there's little doubt that we will look back at this as the high point of Boris's mayoralty, as the day where he finally got round to *doing something.*

The bikes look good (Barclays logos aside) and they're attracting media interest in a way that none of Boris's other half-baked schemes have managed.

So no it wasn't his idea and at £140 million it hasn't been provided "at no cost to the taxpayer" but I have little doubt that this will transform how many people see Boris as Mayor.

The likes of Simon Jenkins won't be happy about it and no doubt stories of vandalism and tragedy will plague the scheme for years to come.

But if TfL can get the scheme to work well then this could be a start of something great for Londoners.

And with little else to boast about after two years, could this finally be the start of something great for Boris as well?


Anonymous said...

"is this the high point for Boris Johnson's term"

let's face it there's not a lot of competition!!

Will said...

it will either be the high point or a huge disaster

AdamB said...

There will be disasters, but the scheme as a whole? Unlikely.

Helen said...

For "high point" I'd substitute "has had far more money spent on advertising than everything else in the last two years put together".

Anonymous said...

It is one of the most stupid and preposterous wastes of money at a time when essential services are being cut. Yet again it is focused on central london and simply ignores the millions in outer london who pay a high proportion of the costs and get none of the benefits.

Anonymous said...

This will be one big novelty for the summer months. Come winter it will be cosier to take the bus or underground to escape the cold,wet,windy weather,not forgetting the pot holes and other dangers that await the cyclist.If people think that this will cut down London's Carbon Footprint you should be aware that all Public Transport will still be running as normal leaving it's Carbon Footprint, so this cycle scheme will not benefit Londoner's health either.Sorry if I sound a bit like the Devil's Advocate but I have read that if you cycle in highly polluted cities you have a high risk of developing respiratory decease due to pollutants from vehicles and also dust from their brake linings.

prj45 said...

"Anonymous: Sorry if I sound a bit like the Devil's Advocate but I have read that if you cycle in highly polluted cities you have a high risk of developing respiratory decease due to pollutants from vehicles and also dust from their brake linings."

Or if you drive, or walk.

Drivers are exposed to far more of it as they sit exhaust pipe to air inlet.

Anonymous said...


Yes you are correct but it is my understanding that most modern cars are equipped with A Cabin Air Filter system that is usually located in the HVAC case mostly behind the dashboard or just under the bonnet.This filter clears all pollutants,pollen,brake asbestos dust and more from the air before it is vented into the vehicle. Yes Pedestrian's are at risk from vehicle pollutants but the research I read indicated that cyclist are more at risk because they breath very deeply whilst cycling and pollutants reach deeper into the lungs because of their bigger lung capacity due to exercise,also cyclist are literally blasted by Vehicle Exhaust Fumes because they are in the slip stream of cars or other vehicles, so this poses a real health problem to those that cycle in polluted cities like London.At the end of the day we are all still at risk from vehicle pollutants as you pointed out but cyclist are by far, more at risk.I hope that this has clarified what I was pointing out.

EtonMess said...

He's getting sterling press coverage... The "Boris Bike" is being used ad-naseum from his press buddies... yet another project commissioned by his predecessor that he claims credit for.

Still, at least he is getting credit for a non-motorist appeasing scheme...

Dave Cole said...

I've received my key and have started using it. With all the caveats that Adam mentions, it is actually a really good system.