Cyprus Mail, 27.10.2011
Bike sharing scheme launched
By Poly Pantelides Published on October 27, 2011
PEOPLE in Nicosia are now able to roam the city on bicycles at 27 docking stations spread across seven municipalities as part of the much anticipated bike sharing scheme.
The scheme was unveiled yesterday at a special ceremoney in Aglandjia attended by various officials, including Communications Minister Efthymios Flourentzos, and the participating mayors.
The new system is open now but not all of the 27 stations are operational yet.
It will be another ten days before the system is fully up and running on November 7.
The scheme involves 315 bikes which people can borrow from any designated station and return to any other station of their choosing.
A network of bike lanes, some of which are expected to be completed by the end of the year and others by 2012, connect the city’s universities and hopefully “rejuvenate our bodies” in the word of Aglandjia mayor Andreas Petrou.
Environment Commissioner Charalambos Theopemptou told the Mail that the plan was to link the universities rather than general commuting to work.
“The purpose was to connect the universities and encourage leisurely cycling not cycling on an everyday basis,” Theopemptou said.
He was asked to explain why there were no bike lanes cutting through the heart of the city, connecting the parcitipating districts through major and potentially dangerous road arteries.
“No political decision has been taken to accommodate those who want to commute on their bikes,” Theopemptou said.
The Communications Minister however said yesterday that “we should use our car only when absolutely necessary.”
A draft law on cycling currently being discussed at the House plans to regulate cycling. It provides for fines and imprisonment for various offences such as riding on pavements.
Theopemptou said that the proposed law should be enforced “only when the necessary infrastructure is put in place or else it will keep cyclists away.”
It will be a while yet however before Cyprus returns to its cycling past. “Forty or fifty years ago people use to ride their bike to work,” said Ayios Dhometios mayor Andreas Hadjiloizou.
But at least, cyclists now have the option of a healthy and pleasant bike ride around parts of the city. People do not have to register to use the bikes as long as they have a credit or debit card in order to pay a €150 security deposit. The deposit is paid back within 24 hours of returning the bike.
Use is free for those riding the bike for less than hour.
It costs €1 to use the bike for between one and two hours; €3 between two and three hours; €5 between three and four hours with the cost then rising a further €2 for each hour of use.
The umbrella company in charge of the bike sharing scheme, DELP, is looking to introduce the use of student ID cards and seven-day codes to encourage use of the bikes.
Seven municipalities are involved: Ayios Dhometios; Aglandjia; Dhali; Engomi; Latsia; Nicosia; and Strovolos.
The scheme cost €800,000 and was partly funded by the Communications Ministry.