Page last updated at 15:49 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 16:49 UK

Public bike hire scheme for city

OYBike runs similar schemes in other parts of the UK including London

A "Paris-style" cycle rental scheme allowing people to pick up and drop off bikes at new hire stations to be dotted around Cardiff has been launched.

Users pay a registration fee and then a small hourly rate to use one of the fleet of 70 specially branded bicycles.

They can be collected or returned to any of the 35 hire points with no need to take them back to the original site.

It will be run by a firm that operates similar schemes in other parts of the UK and aims to reduce congestion.

Cardiff council, which is sponsoring it with the Welsh Assembly Government, described it as a Paris-style scheme and the first of its kind in Wales.

It will be run by OYBike which started in London and has expanded to other cities and towns in the UK.

Users pay a registration fee of either £18 annually or £5 a week
The first 30 minutes of hire are free with a small hourly rental fee after that
Bikes can be picked up and dropped off at any of the 35 hire points
There will be a reservation option for anyone registered
Source: Cardiff Council

Cardiff council executive board member Delme Bowen said it was designed to encourage more people to take up cycling and to reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the city.

"Cycling is a brilliant way to get around Cardiff and a great way to keep fit and healthy," he said.

"We have a number of good routes in the city, and I am confident that this scheme will prove to be very popular."

The 35 bike stations will be situated at key points around Cardiff city centre and Cardiff Bay.

It has been welcomed by campaigners.

Jane Lorimer, deputy director of Sustrans Cymru. said: "Residents and visitors alike will benefit from the easy-to-access bikes being available for short journeys.

"Evidence from other schemes shows that schemes like this can be very useful in giving non-regular cyclists their first taste of being on two wheels, which then leads to them cycling more regularly."

The launch is taking place alongside the Walking & Cycling Conference, which is a national event sponsored by the assembly government.

Engineers, transport planners, public health practitioners and other professionals will explore and develop ideas for encouraging people to move away from automatically travelling by car.

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