Page last updated at 00:52 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 01:52 UK

Cycle hire scheme moves forward

A computer generated image of what the cycle stations would look like
The bike-hire plan was inspired by similar schemes across Europe

Plans for a cycle hire scheme in London that could mean an extra 40,000 cycle trips a day have moved a step closer.

Transport for London (TfL) hopes to implement the scheme by May 2010 and intends to submit planning applications for 400 cycle docking stations.

The idea will be key to achieving a 400% increase in cycle journeys in London by 2025, TfL said.

The bike-hire plan was inspired by similar schemes across Europe, the largest being Velib in Paris.

The cycle hire scheme will be available in the boroughs of Camden, Hackney, Lambeth, Islington, Kensington and Chelsea, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Westminster, City of London and Royal Parks in central London.

'Healthy option'

Last year a feasibility study found there was a "significant market" for the scheme among rail commuters and to reach potential cyclists bike-hire stations should also be located near major train stations.

TfL has said the 400 cycle stations will be situated about every 300m so people who want to use or lock up a bicycle should never be more than a couple of minutes walk away from a docking station.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "Much like hailing a cab, people will be able to pick up one of 6,000 bikes, and zip around town to their hearts' content - not only a quick, easy, and healthy option, but one that will also make London a more liveable city."

David Brown, of Transport for London, said: "Available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, the London Cycle Hire scheme will help to alleviate congestion hotspots on the Tubes and buses in central London.

"It will also also build on the massive growth London has already seen in cycle journeys in recent years."

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