Okay, I’ll admit it from the off: The London Cycle Hire scheme hasn’t started as badly as I thought it would. It does still worry me that the powers that be (such as they are) don’t seem to have considered the dangers inherent with the scheme.
For a start, we have enough problems with cyclists in London these days as it is, darting in and out of traffic, cycling on pavements and speeding through pedestrian crossings with little care of anyone’s safety. They also have a habit of getting crushed under lorries, something which the lorry driver is usually blamed for despite the fact it was probably an undertaking cyclist in the wrong place that got them killed. Cyclists do seem to have this high-and-mighty attitude that says ‘I cycle, therefore I can do what I want’, helped by a lot of advertising that paints a rosy picture of the health and environmental benefits of cycling. But I digress (as I often do).
The problem I have with it is this: The Cycle Hire Scheme will only serve to put more, inexperienced cyclists on the road, whilst at the same time (and this is the bit that really worries me) not providing even that most basic of safety equipment, a helmet. The main plus is that these inexperienced cyclists, being, as they always are, inexperienced, are not as aggressive on the road and the few I’ve seen seem to behave a little better.
Don’t get me wrong (a phrase I often find myself typing on this blog, usually a sign that I should really redraft everything because I’ve spent ages ranting), in principle it is a good idea, much the same way the car pool services (such as Streetcar of which I am a member) can be beneficial by saving people money whilst at the same time stopping them from using their cars or carrying bikes on crowded commuter trains, but I do fear that the Cycle Scheme hasn’t really been thought all the way through. I hope I’m wrong.