Girish Gupta

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At least 13 emergencies in first two months of Boris bikes
Nov. 23, 2010

Published by Evening Standard [PDF]

Miranda Bryant and Girish Gupta

Emergency services were called at least 13 times to accidents linked to the Mayor's hire bikes during the first two months of the scheme, the Standard can reveal.

Transport for London figures show there were 34 incidents involving the Barclays Cycle Hire bikes between 30 July and 30 September.

There were also five incidents related to the Boris bike scheme — including one where a woman was knocked off her cycle by one of the trailers used to transport the bikes between docking stations.

One cyclist suffered a head injury when he was hit by a bus and a seven-year-old narrowly escaped injury when a docking station fell on the child after it was hit by a car.

In the first recorded accident, five days into the scheme, a male hire bike user was squashed against a kerb by a lorry.

National cycling organisation CTC said it supported the scheme but more could be done to improve safety.

Policy coordinator Chris Peck said that speed limits should be lowered, road design improved and Cycle Superhighways turned into more than just “blue paint on the side of a bus lane”.

Ray Sadri, of think tank LondonSays, wants Boris bike users to get free helmets paid for by private firms. “Many of the Boris Bikers I spoke to resent the idea of having to fork out £30 on average for a decent helmet,” he said.

A TfL spokeswoman said: “Despite the fact that over 1.6 million Barclays Cycle Hire journeys have been made since the launch of the scheme almost four months ago, we had just 10 reports of users being injured while using the bikes during the first 11 weeks of operation.”

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 3,674 cyclists, or 10 per day, were killed or injured in London last year.

Ban dangerous cycle trailers'

Cyclist David Ellis, who was knocked over by a trailer used to transport the Mayor's hire bikes between docking stations, today branded the vehicles “ludicrous”.

The photographer from Stoke Newington suffered cuts and bruising as well as injuries to
his neck and hip after he was thrown from his bike and dragged under the trailer's wheels while cycling with a friend in Theobald's Road in Holborn on November 4.

Mr Ellis, 37, said the trailers were “a danger to cyclists” because they are wider than the electric vehicle towing them.

He called on the Mayor to improve safety among cycle hire scheme users by removing them and encouraging users to wear helmets.




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© Girish Gupta