‘Boris Bikes’ being considered by Council for Derry city centre

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, on one of the bikes available in London's bike sharing scheme. Could Derry be about to receive something similar?
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, on one of the bikes available in London's bike sharing scheme. Could Derry be about to receive something similar?

Derry could receive a public bike sharing scheme, similar to the one made famous by Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

A scoping exercise into the possibility of such a scheme was proposed at a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee in Strabane on Tuesday.

Sinn Fein Councillor, Maoliosa McHugh, was perplexed by the proposal.

“It’s hard to walk up Derry’s streets, never mind cycle up them,” said Colr. McHugh.

Members of the committee were told about how popular public hire bike schemes had become throughout Europe.

Any public bike sharing scheme in Derry would be based on projects executed in cities of a similar size to Derry such as Galway, Cork, Limerick and Bath.

A similar project was launched in Belfast in April this year. There are currently 300 bikes available to rent throughout the city.

The Belfast scheme celebrated its 100,000th user in October and is planning to expand the scheme with more bikes and docking stations in new locations.

A council officer told the committee that a public bike sharing scheme would increase the product of Derry’s tourism industry.

The officer also told the committee that the plans for the bike sharing scheme would included electrically powered bikes similar to the ones currently in use in Glenveagh National Park in Co. Donegal.

Committee members were informed about the environmental benefits a bike sharing scheme could have.

A bike sharing scheme would result in more people cycling for utility and leisure; there would be a reduction in city centre traffic congestion; there would be an increase in physical and mental health and CO2 emissions would be reduced, committee members were told.

In order for the bike sharing scheme to proceed DCSDC would have to agree to allow a business case to be developed and for various delivery options, costings and recommendations to be examined.

The committee was told that there was no financial implications at this stage, other than officer time on the development of a business case.

The Belfast bike sharing scheme is sponsored by Coca Cola.

A council officer told the committee that should the Derry bike sharing scheme go ahead, the implementation of the scheme would be dependent on a sponsor.

“A sponsor would be intrinsic to the delivery of the scheme,” maintainedthe council official.