Mayor to make Haringey Britain’s first electric bike borough

24 October 2013

Electrically-assisted bicycles will become a common sight on the streets of North London after the borough of Haringey was chosen to trial Britain’s first “Barclays Bike-style” electric cycle hire scheme.

A fleet of e-bikes will operate from a network of docking stations in the area around Muswell Hill. Anyone will be able to use them to take the pain out of cycling (or walking) up the area’s hills. As part of the Mayor’s Cycling Vision, launched in April, he outlined plans to encourage the take up of e-bikes in London. Following bids from boroughs to become ‘Mini-Hollands’, Haringey was identified as being an optimum location for this e-bike trial, due to particularly hilly areas in the borough and the potential to use e-bikes to link in with public transport.

The trial scheme is likely to operate in a similar way to the existing Barclays Cycle Hire scheme in inner London, with users riding between docking stations, though it will be completely self-contained and bikes will not be interchangeable with the main scheme. The scheme will provide a valuable supplement to the buses that are the area’s only public transport. Electric bikes are exactly like normal bikes except that there is a small, battery-powered motor to help you pedal. No licence, equipment or insurance is needed to ride one. They are especially useful in hilly areas, or for people who need to ride without breaking sweat, or for people who are older or less fit.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: “E-bikes are already big on the continent because they take the puff and pant out of cycling. Once again, London is leading the way in Britain with new cycling innovations and the elevated latitudes of Haringey are perfect for this trial.”

Haringey Council Leader, Claire Kober, said: “We’re really excited to welcome e-bikes to Haringey – and to become Britain’s first e-bikes borough. 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. 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.”

The Haringey trial will also involve a wide range of other measures to introduce Londoners to electric bikes, including: • A hire service for people who want to try e-bikes for longer periods such as a day or a week;

• High-spec electric mountain bikes for the local beat police officers. These can climb stairs and go over rough ground as quickly as a normal bike can go on tarmac. They can chase criminals into places cars cannot go and make officers more mobile and visible.

At the same time as the e-bike scheme, a new network of high-quality guided “Quietway” cycle routes will be developed across the borough, using quiet but direct back streets, off-road routes and parks, to connect the major centres with each other and with central London. These will be for all cyclists, not just those using the e-bike hire scheme. The routes are being developed and further details will be announced soon.

E-bikes have more than 20 per cent of the market for new bikes in some other European countries, with sales in the hundreds of thousands, but are so far little known in the UK. A number of other cities already have, or are planning, e-bike sharing schemes, including Genoa, Vienna and San Francisco. The bike hire trial and the new routes will be funded by Transport for London using part of the Mayor’s £913 million cycling budget. Commercial sponsorship will also be sought.

The first stage of the programme will now be a detailed feasibility study by Transport for London and Haringey Council to establish the preferred corridor(s) for the hire scheme, compare technologies, and scope where the docking stations should be. As with the Barclays Bike scheme in inner London, all the locations will be fully consulted on and subject to planning permission.

Notes to editors

 1. For more information on the Mayor’s Vision for Cycling visit http://www.tfl.gov.uk/assets/downloads/roadusers/gla-mayors-cycle-vision-2013.pdf

2. The eight borough’s shortlisted to become Mini-Hollands (Bexley, Ealing, Enfield, Kingston, Merton, Newham, Richmond, Waltham Forest) will find out if they are successful in the new year. Although only four of them will be given full mini-Holland status the Mayor is keen to see elements of all of the borough submissions taken forward.

3. 18 Outer London boroughs submitted proposals for the Mini Hollands scheme, they were: - Barking and Dagenham - Barnet - Bexley - Brent - Croydon - Ealing - Enfield - Haringey - Harrow - Hillingdon - Hounslow - Kingston - Merton - Newham - Redbridge - Richmond - Sutton - Waltham Forest

4. The e–bike trial will be completely self-contained and the bikes will not be interchangeable with the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme. The bike hire trial and the new routes will be funded by Transport for London using part of the Mayor’s £913 million cycling budget. Commercial sponsorship will also be sought.