back to article Boris bikes for tourists delayed till year end

Visitors to London, and anyone else without a full account, will not be able to hire Boris bikes until the end of the year. The bicycle hire scheme was meant to be opening to all comers at the end of July. But problems with systems mean you will need to have a UK address and credit card, register for an account and wait for an …

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RAD without checks and balances...

...creates software that is over-priced and incorrect.

Robot talk - "Must. Use. Computers. For. Everything."

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FAIL

No Oyster?

How daft. It being TFL and all.

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The scheme in Dublin works

How hard can it be?

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pricing helps

€10(£8ish) per annum in Dublin, £45 in London.

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Apps apps apps....

"Most of the complaints on forums are to do with bike distribution - either getting hold of a bike or finding any empty space in a rack near your destination."

There are some apps (some good, some bad) on Android to combat this problem. Haven't used the bikes myself but I've watched someone put their bike back and have it updated on my handset 'toot-sweet'

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....apps

the Apps are all well and good but they only tell you that there is no space, and where to find one. (assuming that hasnt also filled up by the time you get there) that still means you have to cycle some 10 mins away from where you actually wanted to go in the first place.

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Still doesn't address the fact that....

... the majority of the people who use the Boris bikes are idiots - they don't wear helmets, have no idea how to ride bikes and have no idea of the highway code.

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title etc ets ets

by that i take it you mean - they are just like every other bloody luddite moron cyclist.

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WTF?

Hmmm

WTF's helmets got to do with it?

Most drivers have no idea about the Highway code, nor, it seems, do they have much of an idea about driving.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: title etc ets ets

Let's not have that particular fight. Some cyclists are lovely and excellent. Some are rubbish and horrid. Twas ever so.

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Unhappy

Absolutely

Well said that man. The biggest criticism I have is that London roads are incredibly dangerous and amateur cyclists with no experience of cycling in London should not be allowed anywhere near it. I've had the unfortunate experience of seeing a cyclist meet their demise under a lorry - not something I want to see repeated, and this looked like an experienced cyclist.

Instead, what you end up with are chumps that go around with no helmet, and cycle on the pavements, often with headphones in. Twice I have nearly been hit by such an idiot, and I await the first news report of some poor sod being hit by a car, bus or lorry - frankly being hit by a tube train isn't out of the question.

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Flame

Do not get me started on the helmet/no helmet argument again.

Cyclists are safest when they act as and are treated as a motorvehicle.

For example following the highway code, positioning in the lane.

It has fuck all to do with helmets (which may or may not exacerbate head injuries).

Usually it is the idiots in helmets with the earbuds in.

Me? I prefer to hear what's coming up behind me and a helmet does have a negative impact on hearing

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Coat

Absolutely not.

Even if you include all the cyclists crushed to death by white van man and prostitute murdering truckers, the overall impact of cycling on lifespan is positive due to the health benefits exercise involved. Cyclists have about 10 years more 'quality years' than people who don't exercise.

As for helmets, why not go to a country where cycling is popular, like the Netherlands? Not a helmet in sight. Helmets give the impression that cycling is a dangerous activity, deterring new riders, and yet health statistics clearly show the opposite.

There was some interesting research out of the University of Bath which showed that, for a male cyclist, wobbling a lot and wearing a long blonde wig gained you more passing distance from motorists. Wearing a helmet got you less.

All that said, for me the main advantage of cycling is that it's a lot harder for plod to nick you after a few sherbets, which, I admit, show a slightly cavalier attitude to health and safety.

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RE: Absolutely

Pedestrians with no headphones that rely on their hearing to look behind themself when stepping into the road are the worst of any road user

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Bub

Re: Absolutely

@Annihilator

17,000 trips a day and you're still waiting for that news report of a demise - sounds like something that's not going to happen very often.

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@Symon

I agree that cycling is a positive endeavour, I just don't agree that putting unwary, casual cyclists into some of the world's busiest roads is a good idea. In my experience the cyclists in London generally are good and know what they're doing. Anecdotally, I see more cyclists waiting at lights than I do jumping them. They also stay off the pavements.

The initial users of the new cycling scheme that I've seen, seem to believe that they're in Lark Rise to Candleford, cheerfully interacting with pedestrians. I honestly believe they will exacerbate the bad name cyclists get from other road users. The Netherlands are a good example of cyclists as major road users, my concern is that London is not Amsterdam - in Amsterdam it's the volumes of cyclists that encourages respect between drivers and cyclists - that just doesn't exist in London, perhaps it will come.

I should qualify myself by saying I cycle regularly, consider myself a good cyclist, don't drive regularly at the moment, and recently left London. I also accept that wearing a helmet will make little difference if I go under a large vehicle, however for the lesser incidents, such as coming off at 20-30mph and hitting the ground, it can make the difference and lessen the injury.

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Enjoying a Johnson

I've used the bikes a few times now & the only real complaint I've had so far is the low gearing. You have to pedal just shy of 1000rpm to get anywhere.

It would also be nice to have a proper mobile optimised website to find the nearest stations & their availability. Android & iPhone apps are of little use when I'm using a Blackberry.

Despite the teething issues, I've been very impressed with the system overall.

Re: No Oyster?

The reason PAYG users are limited to paying by credit/debit card is to insure the bike against theft & damage (which can incur fees up to £300).

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An Outrage!!

I'll steal or damage your bike for a fee of £150

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Go

Like it

Saw these last week when I was visiting The Smoke. I reckon it's a cracking idea and should be pushed out nation-wide. It'll certainly be better received than bloody congestion charging!

The only downside I could see when watching folk use the scheme is exactly as addressed by Bob Fish (above) - a huge number of riders had no helmet and no idea of how to indicate before swerving in their desired direction. Other than that I'm all for it.

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Hmmm

"The only downside I could see when watching folk use the scheme is exactly as addressed by Bob Fish (above) - a huge number of riders had no helmet and no idea of how to indicate before swerving in their desired direction."

Sounds like they've managed to replicate the system in Paris quite well, then.

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Bike distribution

One idea mooted to improve the distribution of bikes is to offer an incentive to those able to travel against the flow.

For example offer a small (50P?) credit to anyone who drops off a bike near a main line train station during the morning rush hour.

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London editon of the HIghway Code

I am convinced that London has its own edition of the Highway Code, detailing all those driving (and cycling) manoeuvres which go on in London but nowhere else, and the rules which govern them.

I just haven't found the London edition in the shops yet.

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Silver badge

Pretty similar to the Cambridge edition then,,,

This will be the one where red == green, hands must never leave the handle bars, unless to simply fold them both across chest, and wheelieing across busy junctions is a legal requirement.

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Anonymous Coward

You ain't wrong

And the taxi drivers, white van men and two wheel couriers have another version that they're not sharing with anybody else.

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Grenade

Since you know this

Then why not learn the other sign's that a cyclist is planing on changing direction.....

OK I'll let you in on the secret they stop pedaling, Seems like a more practicul solution to your little problem then expecting all the 12-18 year old foreign language students to magically become experienced road users over night.

The only person who's driving you can change is your own, live with it

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Anonymous Coward

Stop peadalling?

So you don't spend much time in the smoke yourself then?

There are an awful lot of fixed wheel bikes being ridden in London. You can't stop pedalling on one of those unless you actually stop.

And another thing, when I have a freewheel I often stop pedalling without changind direction. It's called coasting you numpty.

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Boffin

Tedious but true

There's no conclusive evidence that cycle helmets are any more effective than chocolate teapots. According to Tim Harford there's some evidence that they cause adverse effects (motorists pass by closer).

As it happens, I wear one. Lost my front wheel going slowly on a steep camber, cracked my nut, astonishingly it didn't hurt...

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Anonymous Coward

JIT

Create a market in bicycle demand, sellers providing real time pricing for bicycle rental.

A full bay could start lowering the price and an empty one raising it, that way those with the

most money can get a bicycle first which eventually comes back to the poor with a bigger bay

and more bicycles. Or the poor could choose to travel slightly earlier or later than the rich.

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Anonymous Coward

I'm Here!

But where do I park the bike?

"Most of the complaints on forums are to do with bike distribution - either getting hold of a bike or finding any empty space in a rack near your destination."

It's finding a rack near your destination that's the biggest problem. Can you imaging hiring a car with the intention of dropping it in at the rental office near your destination without knowing whether there was such an office or if it would be open when you got there?

As for the bikes being geared too low, that's a crock. The bikes are aimed at casual users who don't want to zap along at 50km/h. If you're the sort of rider who wants to do that sort of speed your probably already own a shed full of carbon fibre exotica. It seems there are quite a few cycle commuters* who thought they were going to get bikes like the ones they already use, rather than a generic town bike aimed at casual cyclists.

* You know the ones I'm talking about, they call themselves cycle commuters but actutally 90% of their journey is on public transport.

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Works in Germany

In Germany, Deutsche Bahn operate a system in several cities which uses mobile phones. You can locate the nearest bike using the Internet, using specific apps for iphone or android or by calling an operator. You unlock a bike and pay for it using your mobile. No registration, no fuss. Simples.

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Anonymous Coward

first paragraph misleading

"Visitors to London ...will not be able to hire Boris bikes until the end of the year."

I don't mean to be finicky, but I felt the first paragraph in the story might be a bit misleading and put people off who would otherwise actually be able to use the scheme now: until the "casual user" scheme mentioned is up and running, visitors will have to plan a week ahead initially and pay the £3 cost of buying a dongle via the TFL website, waiting a few days for it to arrive (and then activate it online or over the phone). Which, by way of comparison for tourists, costs less than a single tube journey from Leicester Square to Covent Garden :-)

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Paris Hilton

exactly

Further, for the cost of doing that Leicester Square to Covent Garden tube journey you can have the key AND a full days access. Or for the cost of 2 singles/a day travelcard (£8) you can have the key and a whole week's access.

(For those not in the know Covent Garden to Leicester Square is statistically the most popular journey on the underground and yet quicker to do on foot - its 0.16 miles. Londoners generally take great pleasure in laughing at this statistic and then saying an expletive adjective followed by the word "tourists").

The key takes less than a working week to get to you and registering it is easy online or by phone. I had an issue with my key and my call (at 6pm) was answered straight away and the problem was fixed within 5 minutes; they even avoided sending me out a new key, despite this being the easy solution for them, because the operator said she didn't want to stop me using it over the bank holiday weekend.

Genuinely an excellent idea and (besides not anticipating the demand, as shown in this story) pretty well executed. Hopefully the fact that the issues have been created by the popularity of the scheme will drive its expansion!

Paris - because of velib obviously.

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