Beryl and the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole local councils have announced a five year partnership to bring bike sharing to their 350,000 residents. The local authorities have invested heavily in cycle infrastructure and are aiming to reduce car journeys by at least 5% by 2022.
The striking green bikes will feature Beryl's own laserlight safety technology that increases visibility by up to 32%, and can be located and unlocked with an app that is available for Apple and Android Smartphones.
Well, bicycles built to be hired out have to be sturdy and well built. We are talking strong engineering and expensive, costly (in green terms) alloys, plus the app based booking infrastructure that requires electricity to function. But don't worry, that is completely offset (and then some) over the lifteime of each bike. Every time a bike share is chosen over private cars, taxis or even public transport there is a net benefit (or Carbon Handprint) that soon adds up to more than the sum of its parts. Think how much time your own bicycle spends sitting idle in your garage - maximising its time on the road is the best way to maximise its environmental benefit.
Bike Hire in the UK is still in its infancy, and though there are no end of startups looking to enter the market, the Boris Bikes in London are the only truly well known scheme.
Beryl, formerly known as Blaze, is certainly still a start-up but the innovative safety products are used in Bike share schemes across the globe and they already run several schemes for corporate clients. Now they are stepping up to City wide coverage you should be in safe hands.
For me the most exciting thing is seeing Bike Shares being used to reduce car usage far from large metropolitan areas. The Boris Bikes of London were as much a political statement as a green infrastructure policy, so it is great to see the beautiful coastal areas of Bournemouth and Poole embracing the idea for its positive benefits alone.
Bike Shares are a great idea for the environment and community. Some people use them every day as an essential part of their commute, others for leisure or occasional journeys. If are luckily enough to have on in your area and haven't tried it yet then give it a go.
If you are in Bournemouth or Poole this summer keep an eye out for the shiny green Beryl bikes, and please let us know what you think.
Steve is the founder of CarbonHandprint.org. He works in technology and lives in a barn. He fills his dustbin once a month and drives a low Co2 family car.
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