One million reasons why London is now a nicer place to live and visit

08/10/2010 Advocacy

Later today, somebody will make the millionth journey on a Boris Bike.

London’s cycle hire scheme mooted by Ken Livingstone but now popularly linked to Boris Johnson will reach a milestone today: the millionth journey.

That’s one million bicycle journeys and as the safety in numbers theory can attest, the more cyclists there are, the safer it becomes for all cyclists. And more pleasant all round: bicycles civilise cities.

London has streets choked with motorised traffic but this is slowly changing, despite the fact London has little cycle infrastructure. In morning and evening peak periods, many major London road junctions swell with 30+ cyclists making it impossible for cars and vans to speed past (straight away). These phalanxes of commuter cyclists – some hardcore, some cycle chic – are now being joined by Boris Bike riders.

Mums can been seen joining their kids on journeys to school on Boris Bikes. Groups of suited business types can be seen jumping on the corporate branded hire bikes instead of waving down cabs. London, slowly, is becoming a better place to live, work and visit.

Ten weeks after it was launched – to members only so far – the millionth journey is a major milestone.

There are 90,000 members, making around 20,000 journeys on the iconic blue bicycles every week day. When the scheme is opened up to credit card walk-up customers, the journey numbers will sky rocket.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “A million thank yous go to Londoners for the warmth in which they have embraced our beautiful blue bikes. The zest in which people have taken to two wheels and joined the cycling revolution we are engendering in the Capital has gladdened my heart.

“The doom mongers and naysayers who darkened my days with pre launch predictions of cycle hire woe have been vanquished.”

The cycle hire sponsor, Barclays, is offering the person who makes the millionth journey, plus three of their friends, free annual membership of the scheme for five years. The four riders will also be offered the chance of an urban cycling makeover at the Bobbin Bicycles boutique in Islington.

Deanna Oppenheimer, CEO UK Retail Bank and Vice Chair Global Retail Bank, said: “The popularity of Barclays Cycle Hire has been tremendous. Londoners are leading more active lives and we’re promoting the benefits of cycling as a sustainable, environmentally friendly mode of transport, while taking our brand around London.”

Hiring a bike is free for up to half an hour.

David Brown, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said:

“The vast majority of journeys being made are under the 30 minute mark. This illustrates that as well as offering those who live or work in London an alternative way to make short trips around the city, they’re also getting great value for money too.”