Gormley hails Dublin bike scheme

Sun, Sep 13, 2009, 01:00

More than 1,000 journeys were made in the first six hours of Dublin’s new public bicycle scheme which was launched earlier today.

Dublin City Council said some 2,000 people have already signed up for the dublinbikes service, which allows commuters to use 450 unisex bikes stationed at 40 bases around the capital.

The scheme should be extended beyond the City centre to the suburbs, Minister for Environment John Gormley said today.

Dublin City Council said the take-up ahead of today’s launch was better than similar schemes in other cities around the world.

On the back of the initial interest, Mr Gormley said it was a signal that cycling was going “mainstream” in Ireland.

“I would like to see a considerable expansion in the dublinbikes scheme from its current level of 400
cycles,” he said.

“It needs to be spread out further throughout the city and into its suburbs.”

The Green Party leader said official traffic statistics showed cycling in Dublin has increased by more than a quarter since 2006.

“Cycling is no longer a niche interest. People realise that it is in many instances a real alternative to the car, especially in our cities.”

The dublinbikes scheme runs from 5.30am to 12.30am every day of the week.

Users, who must register online at www.dublinbikes.ie, pay a €10 annual membership fee and leave a €150 security deposit through a credit card or bank draft.

The first half hour is free, with six hours costing €4.50  and then €2 for every half hour after that.

A cyclist can pick up a bicycle at one point, leave it to another point within an hour and pick up another bicycle without incurring any extra charge.

Each of the distinctive silver bicycles have three gears, a basket and a lock for those who park in between bicycle stations.

It is hoped each bicycle will be used nine times per day, yielding about 4,000 bike journeys. The scheme is similar to the one that has been operating in Paris, Lyons, Copenhagen and 15 other cities.