Generic filters

Shared rental bikes could get the green light

Shared rental bikes, like those seen in London, could be available in Portsmouth in the summer if plans are approved next week.

The proposals mean Portsmouth residents and visitors could soon take advantage of a fun and affordable way to travel to the shops, the seafront and much more without the hassle of storing a bike or saving up for an electric bike.

Next week, a proposal will be discussed at Portsmouth City Council’s Traffic and Transportation decision meeting to launch a shared bike rental scheme. If approved, docking stations for a combination of pedal and electric bikes will be rolled out in the city from this summer. There will be around 38 docking stations and 200 bikes available to rent by the autumn, with the scheme expected to double in size to serve most of the city by April 2023. The trial would be funded through the Department for Transport via the Solent Future Transport Zone.

This trial is another potential step forward to creating a cleaner city where more people can easily cycle, walk or catch the bus for shorter journeys, and connecting with public transport for longer journeys that reduces the reliance on cars.

The bike share scheme would provide Portsmouth’s residents and visitors with an affordable, reliable, efficient, and environmentally friendly transport option that enables healthy lifestyles. Schemes are becoming increasingly common across the UK, with established examples including the Santander Cycle Hire service in London and the recent Bee Network in Manchester. In the UK, all users of bike share bikes are required to follow the same rules of the road as cyclists and are encouraged to wear a helmet.

Bike share company Beryl has been selected to operate the trial. Safety considerations for the scheme include a requirement that all users park their bike at a docking station at the end of a ride. Shared bikes would also only be available to hire to anyone 16 and over. The council would work closely with Hampshire Constabulary and Beryl throughout the trial to monitor the trial.

Beryl bikes have a number of safety features including geo fencing. This means that if the trial goes ahead the bikes will only operate within Portsmouth.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cabinet Member for Traffic and Transportation, said: “It is important we do all we can to address air pollution and traffic congestion in the right way for Portsmouth. I therefore look forward to discussing the proposals for a bike share trial in Portsmouth at my meeting next week.”

The decision will be made about the trial on 5 July at the Traffic and Transportation decision meeting. If the trial is approved, more information about the how and where people will be able to rent a bike will be coming soon.