Bicycle hire schemes are a menace. Fix the pavements instead – Susan Morrison

Andy Burnham is the Mayor of Manchester, and he is very chuffed by their new bike rental system.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 12:30 pm
Mobikes are available in many cities around the world (Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty Images)

It's called Bees Bikes. Bees are the symbol of Manchester. Very industrious, your bee, as was Manchester back in its ‘Cottonopolis’ days.

Now, of course, it has lost its dark satanic mills and is going for a more groovy 21st-century vibe with funky bars and canal side walks.

It's the canals that are bothering Andy. Canals, of course, have long been the last resting place of unwanted bicycles. It’s what happened to the previous scheme, the Mobikes.

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Bee Bikes, Andy explains, were bought with taxpayer money. Chucking them in the water is just throwing away your own money.

I like Andy. He’s a lovely chap with a beautifully trusting view of the world. Andy, those bikes are as doomed to slide beneath the waves as the Titanic.

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We in Edinburgh also have experience with bicycles and water. Even today, bits of Just Eat bikes can be seen in the Water of Leith. There are probably more that we can’t see, sitting on the riverbed like the scuttled German battleships at Scapa Flow.

On paper, bikes for hire is a great idea. Let's give people bicycles! Cut down emissions, save the planet and get people healthy, all at the same time. What is not to love?

In practice, it turned out to be a bit of a bad idea. Just Eat bikes were a hazard on the pavement, as they simultaneously rode down pedestrians and tripped them up because that’s where they got dumped.

I suspect that many of the bike riders didn’t actually pay the hire fee, nor had they passed their cycling proficiency test.

In short, here in Leith, on the street, Just Eat bikes were a menace. We were glad to see the back of them.

Please, Edinburgh City Council, don’t be inspired by the nice Mr Burnham. Leave the bikes to rest in peace.

If you really want to promote planet-saving healthy travel, could you have a look at the pavements? They could do with a bit of TLC.

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