Boris Johnson plans e-bike trial in London’s hilly Haringey
Hilly areas of capital around Muswell Hill to host trial of electric cycle hire scheme as an extension to ‘Boris bike’ network
Sam Jones and agencies
Thursday 24 October 2013 17.43 BST
Help could soon be at hand – or, rather, foot – for those Londoners and visitors who struggle with hills, perspiration and long-distance flogs through the capital’s choked thoroughfares.
In his latest bid to swell the ranks of the cycling masses, Boris Johnson has announced that electric bikes are to be trialled in an extension of the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme.
The London mayor, a keen cyclist, said an experimental fleet of electric Boris bikes would be installed around Muswell Hill, north London, in the borough of Haringey next year.
“E-bikes are already big on the continent because they take the puff and pant out of cycling,” said the mayor. “Once again, London is leading the way in Britain with new cycling innovations and the elevated latitudes of Haringey are perfect for this trial.”
The trial is likely to operate in a similar way to the existing scheme in central London, with users riding between docking stations – although it will be completely self-contained and bikes will not be interchangeable with the main scheme. The initiative is designed to provide a boost to the buses that are the area’s main public transport.
Electric bikes are like normal bikes with a small, battery-powered motor to help the rider pedal. No licence, equipment or insurance is needed.
The bike-hire trial and the new routes will be funded by Transport for London using part of the Mayor’s £913m cycling budget, but commercial sponsorship will also be sought.
Claire Kober, the leader of Haringey council said the borough was honoured to be hosting the trial. “This project with the mayor of London underpins our commitment to being one of the capital’s greenest boroughs and to promoting and rewarding greener travel through improved cycling facilities and sustainable transport across Haringey,” she said.
“Together, we can encourage more people to leave their cars at home and offer the next generation of cyclists safer and better routes around our borough.”
In April, Johnson published a vision for cycling in the capital, in which he outlined plans to encourage the use of e-bikes. He also promised to spend £100m on transforming four London boroughs into “mini-Hollands”, which will receive the necessary funding to become “every bit as cycle-friendly as their Dutch equivalents”.
Eight London boroughs – Bexley, Ealing, Enfield, Kingston, Merton, Newham, Richmond, and Waltham Forest – have been shortlisted for the status and a final decision will be made next year.