A new bicycle hire scheme was launched in Edinburgh earlier this week called ‘Just Eat Cycles’. The scheme’s operator, Secro, had originally signed an agreement with Transport for Edinburgh to develop the scheme with the objective of making cycling and its benefits more publically accessible across the city.
The scheme so far seems promising. With numerous locations across Edinburgh being utilised, Secro is aiming to provide 1,000 bikes by the end of 2018. The hire prices are lower than that of Edinburgh’s buses with single rides costing £1.50. Other hiring options exist, like annual memberships and day subscriptions are available on the scheme’s smartphone app. The bikes are also equipped with the quality essentials for ideal riding, including a unique hybrid lock technology. Ultra-endurance cyclist Mark Beaumont, who serves as the scheme’s ambassador, hopes investing and introducing this experience will expose visitors and residents to cycling’s values and possibilities.
However, despite these impressive efforts, Edinburgh’s transformation into a more cycle-friendly city still requires an improvement in its cycling infrastructure and a change in legislation with the introduction of presumed liability. Current conditions, such as road defects and the lack of segregated cycle lanes, makes it difficult for cyclists to navigate safely.
Convincing more people to cycle will not cure these structural dilemmas. Instead, it will likely exacerbate the need for repair and redesign. Any reforms are difficult given Edinburgh’s dense environment but cycle hiring will only continue that trend going forward.
Hopefully, this scheme will galvanise enough new cyclists – without new accidents – to showcase the need for infrastructural protection and enable a truly cycle-friendly Edinburgh.