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Transport for London's Boris bikes will be available for tourists and other casual users from next week. boris bike From next Friday you will be able to hire a Boris bike without being a registered member of the scheme. You'll need to swipe a Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card at any of the central London docking …

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Bronze badge

But..

...they still haven't come up with a solution to the problem of there being no free bay to park your bike when you arrive at your destination.

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Bronze badge

dont you just....

Ive not used it myself, being a country bumpkin and all that, but when visiting some townie friends I asked the same question... he said that you just swipe and enter no parking, the stand knows its full and gives you get another 5 mins or so to find another rack...

Im in london next week, so relish the chance to have a play :) the bikes were better than i expected! certainly good for a bit of a laugh!

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Bronze badge

So?

"he said that you just swipe and enter no parking, the stand knows its full and gives you get another 5 mins or so to find another rack..."

Which is all well and good, but what happens if time is critical?

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Go

At peak times..

.. at the busiest stations etc, you will find that there are attendants who empty the rack (and keep an eye on the bikes by the side of it), so there are always free slots there.

The system isn't perfect, but they are working hard to make it function well, and so far I have found it great. As always with these things, you get to know the quirks.

Also, time is never critical on a bike - because if it was, you would pedal harder and get there earlier, right?

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it's all public transport....

Not really been following the Boris bikes, but has anyone suggested linking them to the Oyster card systems??

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"has anyone suggested linking them to the Oyster card systems"

Approximately everyone (within the margins of error) has suggested this. However, there were "technical problem", which I'm sure had absolutely nothing to do with Boris wanting to award a sweetheart contract to a new bunch of chumrades.

Give them credit, the scheme does seem to be working by and large - apart from the obvious problem of having to ride round the houses (literally) to find a free docking bay.

But borisbikes.co.uk has some lovely stories about docking stations not giving people bikes they've paid for, giving them ones they haven't paid for, or (oops!) refusing to take back one they have paid for, and are continuing to pay for while the system shrugs and wants nothing to do with it.

Could get interesting when any Tom, Dick or Evgeny can have a go on them.

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It's about non-returned bikes and regulation

The Boris Bike operators want to be very sure they have the details of a valid credit card for anyone who rents the bikes, mainly because the success of the scheme depends on getting people to return the bikes, and this depends on the fact that people who don't return bikes are charged (by card) for their replacement cost.

Oyster Cards are prepay cards designed for small payments. They may be linked to credit cards, but most are not. They are not designed for the larger and more sophisticated payment services that are needed for the bike rentals

In some places (Hong Kong being the most notable) Oyster Card like systems have evolved to be useful for all manner of payments besides transport. TfL has had ambitions to do this here, but they run into financial services regulations when they do. They would basically have to apply for a banking licence and then accept regulation from the Financial Services Authority. It is hard to blame them for wanting to avoid this.

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Max fee on Oyster?

What's the maximum fee you can be charged if you forget to "tap-out" correctly on Oyster?

I noticed the 24hr+ fee for the Boris Bikes is a bit steep, and they might want a valid credit card

so they can chase you if you nick a bike (who'd want to; they're obviously hire bikes).

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Flame

Seems a lot like thievery to me.

"Oyster Cards are prepay cards designed for small payments."

And renting _a f**ng bike_ isn't a small payment? You are supposed to _buy_ the bike and then get your money back when you return it? (If Boris is happy, that is.)

" They may be linked to credit cards, but most are not. "

Irrelevant. You could pay with coins if necessary.

"They are not designed for the larger and more sophisticated payment services that are needed for the bike rentals"

Ie. bullshit. You take a bike, you pay it. It's about as "sophisticated" as taking a dump.

Real reasons lie elsewhere, like collecting user data or unlimited access to peoples credit cards, i.e. thievery.

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Stop

Re: Seems a lot like thievery to me.

"Real reasons lie elsewhere..." Yes, they do indeed. Like in the first couple of paragraphs of Michael's comment, in fact.

RTF comment....

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Anonymous Coward

10 cyclists killed or injured per day on London streets?

I'd love to see your sources on this one, the nearest I could find was from 2008:

http://www.movingtargetzine.com/file_download/21/jennyjonespressrelease.pdf

Which says there was a total of 8 killed and 84 seriously injured in London for the full year. I make that to be slightly fewer than your rather alarmist statistic.

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Gold badge
Coffee/keyboard

Re: 10 cyclists.....<etc>

"movingtargetzine"? For cycling casualty figures?

Oh Christ, I just pissed myself at that one......

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Anonymous Coward

Stats eh?

"10 cyclists killed or injured on the capital's streets every day"

Anyone else think that's one very misleading line? What's the break down between the two?

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Bronze badge

Distinction

Official stats make no distinction. It's KSI or nothing.

Better yet "seriously injured" means somebody had to visit hospital and if you've ever been in an RTA where an ambulance crew or paramedic has attended you'll know they do their level best to get you to go to hospital even if you say they're fine. They say it's out of concern, I say it's because they can charge the insurance companies for the call out if somebody goes to hospital. If nobody goes to hospital they can't charge.

So KSI statistics can be somewhat skewed by this definition of "serious injury". If you go to hospital it's classed as a serious injury and nobody chases it up. So if you're sent home with a plaster on your knee and a bottle of paracetemol it's still a serious injury.

Motorcyclists have been complaining for years that stats are skewed against them because you're much more likely to need checking up in hospital after being knocked of any form of two wheeler at parking speed than you are in a similar accident in a car. I know I was taken to hospital despite protesting that I didn't need to, the paramedic claimed I might have concussion. A&E sent me home saying I had not suffered concussion, but I would have still gone down on the statistics as a serious injury.

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Don't be a dick

If they don't take you to hospital and you drop dead two hours later from an aneurysm, how do you think that would play out?

Stop worrying about the stats and stop complaining when people who have seen considerably more RTAs than you, try to help you.

Incidentally, as I recall the definition of "serious injury" is tighter than you presume. I broke my shoulder in a crash a few years ago and was later told by a policemen that wouldn't make the grade.

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Flame

possibly

10 pavement cyclists killed a day by disgruntled parents watching those islington idiots almost hit their children, or 10 red light jumpers killed by car drivers exercising their right to drive through the green ones?

I love cycling but the pavement idiots (mainly middle aged or aussies) antics, tend to make me not loook out for them much when driving my car or motorcycle anymore

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Bronze badge

Pavement

So, by your own argument you drive your car on the pavement. And you think cyclists are stupid?

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Anonymous Coward

Red Lights

I wondered how long it would be before some Daily Mail reader started ranting about red light jumping. It's interesting that I hardly ever see cyclists jumping red lights, but almost every time a light turns red I'll see at least one car either sneak through on red, or in the last millisecond of amber. Why is it OK for car drivers to jump red lights then?

Or is it that you put all cyclists together in the same group because of the actions of a minority, but you don't do the same for car drivers. All cyclists are idiots because a handful jump red lights, but all car drivers are sensible except for the ones who jump red lights.

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WTF?

Really?

You never see cyclists jumping red lights? Really? I invite you to stand outside Farringdon station between 0830 and 1000. I guarantee you'll see enough cyclists going through red lights and numerous pedestrians having to jump out the way to change your mind.

Infact, join me on a random 15 minute drive around London and I'll be happy to point out numerous examples of pompous cyclists ignoring the rules of the road. One increasingly popular technique is to cycle onto the pavement when wanting to turn left and faced with a red light - they seem to think this is most justifiable for some unknown reason.

But ignoring the actions of a (albeit still significant) minority, big kudos to the decent cyclists out there! And Boris Bikes are brilliant.

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WTF?

Oh really?

If you hardly every see people jumping lights then all I can say is that it must be because you're at the front of the pack.

I commute to work on my bike and guaranteed on my way to or from work if I have to stop at a red light there will always be at least one cyclist who goes straight through.

Sure I've seen cars to it too, but no where near as much as cyclists.

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Flame

Cyclists are looking for a suicide

"It's interesting that I hardly ever see cyclists jumping red lights, but almost every time a light turns red"

_Turns red_, yes. Have you ever heard about momentum? How long it takes to stop a car from 30mph? Too complicated for you, eh?

" I'll see at least one car either sneak through on red, or in the last millisecond of amber. Why is it OK for car drivers to jump red lights then?"

How many cars are running against red light and pushing to the middle of the cyclists/pedestrians crossing? With full speed? None?

Most bikes do that: they push into middle of the cars (which have green) without braking. If that isn't looking for suicide, I don't know what is.

"Last millisecond of amber" is totally legal, btw. Also are the first seconds of red, because cars won't stop in a second (or two seconds either) and it's not an opinion, but physics. Also legal.

You sound very much like a person who sees cars driving "against red light" a couple of seconds and whine bout it, because you have no clue about physics involved. Or legalities ruling the driving.

You are to stop into red light if you can do it without endangering the cars behind you: A sensible statement to anybody driving car, but not obviously to people like you.

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Anonymous Coward

The Simple Truth Is ...

... all road using groups hate all other road using groups. It's London. It's busy. Stake your claim or wait awhile. Most of us do it.

I rollerblade and hop and skip from road to pavement and back again. Everyone hates me. But then I get to dance into work of a morning, so what do I care?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Cyclists are looking for a suicide

Oh my Christ. Any mention of cycling, cyclists or inner tubes and this happens. Give it a goddam rest. Some cyclists are dicks. Some are not. Some people think wearing a helmet isn't essential. Some do. We have had all these arguments roughly 50,000 times here in the last three years. Aren't you bored yet?

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Silver badge

Your own icons?

Could do with a moderators 'FFS!'

As a cyclist I was waiting for it all to start and all the bollocks (from both sides) to begin.

The article is about Boris Bikes not 'all cyclists are pavement murderers' nor is it 'all drivers are homicidal maniacs'.

Please take it over to the Daily Maul where there is usually one of these threads running.

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Actually

An amber light means that you must stop, unless to do so would be dangerous.

So flooring it to get through on amber is just as illegal as going through on red.

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Anonymous Coward

30mph

How long does it take a car to stop from 30mph?

Well the amber light is on for 3 seconds, no more, no less. If you can't stop your car from 30mph or indeed 60mph then either you or your car should not be on the road. And the same goes for cyclists.

IIRC the official reaction time when calculating stopping distances is 0.7 seconds. That is the time from the driver seeing the hazard or light to the brakes being fully on. With a modern car this will be shorter as the tests were done when technology was old and crap. Since modern braking, suspension and tyre technology is so much better a modern car will easilly beat the published stopping distances.

I don't car what mode of transport you control, the argument that you don't have time to stop is total crap. The argument that it's safer to run the red than it is to stop is an even bigger pile of bull.

Only this morning I watched some idiot in a gold Merc run a red light to shave a little bit off his journey time. He was a huge distance from the light when it changed to amber and actually accelerated to try to beat the red. He failled by what must have been nearly a second. Half a mile later I saw a driver set off before it changed to red and amber. He may claim that he was trying to anticipate the change and it was perfectly safe because nothing was coming, but what exactly is so wrong with waiting for green?

So much bad and dangerous driving/cycling is puely about selfishness. Too many people on every mode of transport take risks to try to cut their journey time. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about jumping red lights, speeding, cycling in pedestrian areas, pulling out in front of traffic or virtually any other dodgy manoeuvre nearly all of it is done to cut journey times. If you want to get there sooner set off earlier, it's simple.

What puzzles me is that every type of road user will criticize almost every other type of road user. What gets even worse is that some people seem to think you can break it down by the make of the vehicle. You know all the stories about the drivers of one particular brand being dangerous. Audi, BMW, Volvo, whatever, they're all just human beings. And it seems everybody is capable of being a twat on the roads when they're in a hurry, it's just that some people seem to be in a hurry whenever they get on the road.

I know some cyclists who are determined to show that cycling to work is quicker than using the car. And I've seen the sort of risks they take to try to prove it. If you think your life, or that of anybody else, is worth less than getting to work a minute earlier then there's no point arguing with you.

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Stop

Rules.

"10 cyclists killed or injured on the capital's streets every day"

Having spent a few days in London recently I suspect that most of these were down to cyclists not following the rules of the road / highway code. Common ones that I spotted (or were almost run over due to) :-

(i) Not stopping at Red Lights / junctions, not even when pedestrians were crossing the road at designated crossings.

(ii) Going the wrong way up one way streets or going down the wrong side of the road (we drive AND ride on the left hand side of the road).

(iii) Not using lights when it is dark.

(iv) Trying to get up the inside of buses as they pull over or going up the inside of buses on islands.

I've got no objection to these bikes around London saving on pollution / congestion, but until cyclists learn that they also have to obey the highway code, they are going to keep on getting killed on the roads (and usually blaming the motorist).

It does seem to be a bit of a high figure though.....

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Dead Vulture

@ Andrew16

As an everyday London cyclist of 7 years I have a little experience to comment on your suggestions...

(i) Pedestrians do not stop when they see a "Red Man". You don't walk out in front of a car so why do it to a bike. As a guess for every cyclist who runs lights there would be 5 pedestrians that do the same. Technically I run them as I have crossed the stop line but it is far safer to get right to the edge of the intersection and wait there for the green light as opposed to waiting at the stop line. I'm not condoning it but I have never seen a cyclist get hit running a light. I've seen numerous incidents though when they have been setting off on a green after waiting for a red at the stop line. One girl I vividly remember was lucky just to have her legs crushed beyond use.

(ii) I doubt this has any statistical impact with regards to accidents and is rarely seen on my journeys.

(iii) Agreed, the Police however actively get involved with this so these idiots are quickly "educated".

(iv) Bus drivers (not the majority) feel that if they can get their front door level with you then they are free to pull over. Every week I encounter a bus overtaking that if I were in a car it would be crushed or shunted up onto the pavement. Some bus drivers just have the attitude "f**k you, I'm pulling over here". We share the lane with buses so you have to expect overtaking but both parties need to do this safely. Why they roar past only to slam on the brakes 5 seconds later throwing all of their passengers through the front windows is beyond me. Don't get me started on the black taxis.....

By far the best safety project they can do for cycling in London is hi-viz fire marshall type jackets given out with a sponser logo for free. As for the main topic of the article I would not be surprised if boris bikers made up a higher statistical percentage for accidents as they have me shaking my head way more than private bike cyclists.

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Unhappy

Agree

As a cyclist I see all crap and more. It's no wonder motorists hate us.

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Ale

Re: rules

Nope, most were due to left turning lorries.

Personally, I would far rather come across a dangerous cyclist than a dangerous driver.

Every time I have been seriously injured in London, it was down to a car pulling out infront of me.

Some cyclists don't stop at red lights, but I'd say nearly all of them will give way at one. For the ones that don't, there's natural selection.

Many "one way streets" in london are actually only one way for motor traffic. Many pedestrians and drivers seem not to realise this.

On the other hand. Most car drivers seem fine with going through red lights as they change, talking on mobile phones, speeding, goin the wrong way down one way streets, parking/driving on pavements and cycle lanes and generally not being aware of what is around them.

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Not true

The vast majority of cyclists killed in London are crushed by large vehicles turning left across their path at junctions. This is due to a combination of rider inexperience (you should NEVER wait at the lights alongside another vehicle), drivers not looking for cyclists and road junction design omitting cyclists as a design consideration.

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Paris

I cycle to work in the Parisian region and most commuters on bikes are quite sensible, surprisingly the vast majority of motorists as well (assuming they can see you)! Most regular adult cyclists now use lights and hi-vis vests. You still get a lot of teenagers and non-regular cyclists who do not use lights, I can't figure out why when they are so cheap and convenient now.

You get cyclists carefully going through red lights and down one-way roads. The biggest danger for pedestrians is not cyclists on the pavement but the number of motorcyclists who use the pavements as high-speed rat runs.

The biggest killer for cyclists is what they call "l'angle de mort", the blind spots around lorries and busses. A lot of people are aware of the blind spots at the sides of lorries but are not aware of the blind spots in front of them.

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Bronze badge

Wrong Side?

"(ii) Going the wrong way up one way streets or going down the wrong side of the road (we drive AND ride on the left hand side of the road)."

One way streets is fair enough, but going up the "wrong side" of the road if perfectly legal if (a) you are not on the wrong side of a solid white line and (b) it is safe to do so.

I used to get motorists regularly trying to obstruct me when filtering up the outside of traffic on my motorbike. Some would even go so far as to open doors in my path. Now it matters not whether my actions were legal or not it is not up to any other road user to try to enforce their view of the law in this way. To cap it all I actually saw one driver try to obstruct a police motorcyclist who was coming up the outside.

I see plenty of drivers pulling similar idiotic stunts to block cyclists. Only yesterday watched one driver move into the kerb apparently in order to block a cyclist who was filtering up the inside at the lights (again, not necessarilly illegal). The trouble was that the cyclist was already on the motorists nearside and he was almost crushed.

I have to ask though, what do people gain by trying to enforce their twisted view of the law in this way? Does obstructing another road user make their own journey any quicker or safer?

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Go

Train + Boris-bike

Is it just me who would like a Boris-bike when crossing London from one station to another?

When you get a train ticket valid via London, it includes a tube journey to connect the mainline stations of your arrival and departure. Or you can walk it – some connections are not unpleasant (for example, Victoria to Paddington is 40 minutes and largely across the park).

Now London has Boris-bikes, we have at our fingertips an altogether more pleasant alternative.

So, rail companies and TFL, when will you start selling via-London tickets that offer the option of one journey on a Boris-bike as an alternative to that tube journey? You know it makes sense!

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Traffic lights: quick fact burst.

As a cyclist, it's safer by far not to stop. At least, that's what Transport For London found.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1695668.ece

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Anonymous Coward

Free city bikes in many Nordic countries

"Transport for London's Boris bikes will be available for tourists and other casual users from next week. "

Humm ... it's the end of November, has anybody noticed?

Also I see it's stupid and/or greedy to require credit card (and user tracking) for loaning a bike.

Helsinki (also Oslo and Stockholm) had free city bikes for anyone to use, no control except you aren't supposed to drive away from centrum with those, like this:

http://www.hel.fi/wps/wcm/connect/4b9a5b004a17a4e5b640fe3d8d1d4668/3/kaupunkipyrt.jpg?MOD=AJPERES

Very popular among tourists in summer.

Unfortunately Helsinki got greedy and now (2011 and onwards) they want to track users and charge money for those with bus cards (and that card costs money by itself).

Obviously freak-level control and tracking users is far more important than service to city as building tracking devices to all bikes and bike racks costs a lot of money.

Sounds familiar, eh?

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Pirate

Pavement warriors...

Personally, as a driver and pedestrian, I used to get annoyed by cyclists riding on the pavements, particularly the one or two arseholes who either ran into me or rudely shouted to get out of the way.

But then I started looking at the roads they were having to cycle on in the mornings and evenings, and to be honest, if it's a choice between me sharing the pavement with a cyclist, or a greater risk of someone going under the wheels of a truck, then that's fine by me.

That said, cyclists who cycle on the pavement (and I'm including the idiots who thunder down the canal towpaths every evening) need to respect the fact that pedestrians have right of way on paths, and cycle carefully and courteously.

I would also like to see some sort of government sponsored training scheme for anyone who cycles in London, to demonstrate they understand how the rules of the road work, and also to teach them stuff like how trucks corner - i.e. that big space you're aiming for on the apex is going to get very small very quickly.

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