Northern Ireland’s first on-street public bicycle rental system — Belfast Bikes — has opened to commuters this morning. Some of those expressing quite some excitement as Belfast wakes up on its first day with bike share open to all residents and visitors:
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— David Meade (@DavidMeadeLive) April 27, 2015
— Siobhán (@daisybella17) April 27, 2015
Belfast follows the roll out of bicycle share in UK cities such as London and Glasgow, while it is the fifth public scheme on the island of Ireland, all of which are sponsored by the soft drink company Coca-Cola. DublinBikes hit a milestone of 10 million trips last week.
Users of the bikes in Belfast will have 300 bikes at 30 docking stations across the city centre.
You can sign up at belfastbikes.co.uk. At £20 per year, a subscription is a bit more expensive than Dublin’s €20 fee, which is for access to 1,500 bicycles across 101 stations. For tourists and others without annual subscription, a three-day fee is £5.
Like most on-street bike share systems, the first half hour of use is free and for ever hour after after the price accelerates, to encourage short-term use (full price list pictured below).
The Belfast scheme will be run by Nextbike who operate bike share in locations such as Glasgow, Bath, Budapest, Dubai, and in over 30 Germany cities.
Here’s a video of the preview day event yesterday:
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Some of the same issues of discussion which happened in Dublin, are already popping up in Belfast — such as the system being limited to the city centre and a debate around the lack of helmets
Intriguing to watch early Belfast Bikes commentary on helmets, shaping up to be the first point of attack when initial glow fades
— NI Greenways (@nigreenways) April 26, 2015
— Niall Ó Donnghaile (@NiallSF) April 26, 2015
Those looking for helmets to be mandatory were given a word-of-warning from Melbourne on Saturday:
— St Etienne (@BicycleAdagio) April 25, 2015