Has Barney’s bikes – the cycle hire scheme that seemed set for Aberdeen – bitten the dust?
It’s all gone quiet over the proposal for the cycles for hire plan. More than three years ago, city councillors instructed officers to produce a business case for the introduction of the system, named – possibly by this newspaper – after Lord Provost Barney Crocket.
I was never a supporter of the idea, having seen it fail elsewhere. Photographs of hundreds of thousands of the two-wheeled contraptions from similar schemes piled high in scrap yards in China tell that story.
My guess is that the dozen or so scooter users I’ve seen have all been under legal car driving age and have all used pavements as their route from A to B, against the rules
There appears to be no enthusiasm to rejuvenate the issue in Aberdeen and we must hope that they don’t now follow the route of other towns and cities and adopt a “rent an e-scooter” programme.
You need eyes in the back of your head to avoid e-scooters
This week I have witnessed how Buckinghamshire Council has implemented an electric scooter rental trial to help support a “green” alternative to local travel. They say it is convenient, clean, affordable, will help to mitigate reduced public transport capacity and allow for social distancing.
It will also lower the reliance on car trips, cut congestion and improve air quality. Nothing about the potential earning power of the things, mind you.
My guess is that the dozen or so scooter users I’ve seen have all been under legal car driving age and have all used pavements as their route from A to B, against the rules. Which means that – unless you have eyes in the back of your head, like you’re supposed to on the old Deeside railway line where bell-free bikes threaten your wellbeing – you run the risk of serious injury.
E-scooters have already caused deaths in the UK
But here’s another crazy bit; while privately owned scooters are still illegal on public roads, e-scooters in an approved trial are not breaking the law. Try telling that to somebody who’s been flattened by one of these machines and is looking at a couple of weeks in traction.
It was only two years ago that TV presenter and YouTube star Emily Hartridge died when her e-scooter collided with a lorry at a roundabout in Battersea, south-west London.
Say no to Sandra’s scooters
Right now, in Aylesbury, I’ve dodged two or three rental e-scooters operated by Zipp Mobility as part of a 12 month long trial.
If you’re over 16-years-old and hold at least a provisional driving licence, you’re in the game. Feel free to whizz past fellow pavement users for an unlock fee of £1 for your e-scooter and a charge of 15p per minute.
Councillor Sandra Macdonald is Aberdeen City Council transport spokesperson. If the Barney’s bikes idea has been parked for good, please let’s not have Sandra’s scooters as a replacement.
Editor’s note: Aberdeen City Council announced a new operator for an e-bike hire scheme in March 2021, which plans to make 450 e-bikes available around the city.