Boris Johnson is set to launch an electric bike rental scheme on the streets of London in 2014. Our crazy-haired mayor will unleash several hundred battery-powered bicycles and their corresponding electric docking stations across the city as part of a pilot designed to expand the city’s existing bike rental scheme.
The bikes will initially be deployed around Muswell Hill, Crouch End and Alexandra Palace, with a base station, which will charge the bikes, located at Finsbury Park Tube Station. These locations have been chosen due to their hilly nature. Cyclists are often put off riding in such areas due to their hilly nature, but the power-assisted bikes should help riders make short work of steep inclines.
Johnson, himself a keen cyclist, told the Guardian: “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.”
The scheme is likely to mirror that of the standard Boris Bikes, with users able to collect a bike from one location and drop it off at another. However the electric Boris Bikes will not be compatible with the standard models, so users will not be able to leave their electric steeds at non-electric docking stations.
The electric bikes will use a small battery to power an electric motor, which provides assistance. It is not yet clear whether the power assistance will be activated when the user presses a button (or twists a handle) or whether the motor kicks in when the rider begins to pedal.
No licence, special equipment or insurance will be needed to ride the bikes.
Claire Kober, the leader of Haringey council, said “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.”