The benefits of exercise are widely known, so are the benefits of environmentally conscious forms of transportation. Healthier citizens put less of a burden on social welfare programs, lower fossil-fuel emissions keep citizens happier and the world a little more green (in both a physical and conceptual way). As such Cycle Hire schemes are important for public health.
A Spanish research team studying the bike-hire scheme in Barcelona found that the scheme helped offset 9.000 tons of carbon dioxide pollution per year, saving 12 lives annually. With up to 400 cities offering Cycle-Hire programs, they could potentially save hundreds of lives around the globe every year.
London’s Polluted Woes
London is one of the most polluted cities in Europe (to be fair Europe is relatively green compared to other continents) but the shocking thing is that London’s poor air quality results in an estimated 4.300 (and 50.000 across England) deaths a year. If the city doesn’t clean up its act, it could result in a 300 million pound per year fine being imposed by the European Commission.
Critics of the program point out that London’s Boris bikes or Barclay’s bikes cost taxpayers close to 300 pounds per London resident annually. Ok, before you go claim your (deservingly so) free Boris Bike you should know that Paris has a comparable program that not only absorbs the bikes’ costs, but even make the city money. So until it becomes financially viable in London, this potentially lifesaving initiative is always going to have its dissenters.
See Also: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Cycling to Work
So would you use a cycle hire service if your city offered it? Why or why not? Let me know in the comment section below.