Belfast is one of the many UK cities that has rolled out a bike hire scheme in recent years. Wanting to make their city an eco-friendly place, using bikes over cars lowers the omissions released into the atmosphere. As a sustainable and affordable way for residents and tourists to dart around the city; bike hire scheme sees everyone win; right?

Well, according to recent article, the scheme hasn’t been plain sailing. Those involved said the city has experienced many thefts and damages to their bikes. This has resulted in a whopping bill of over £40,000!

Launched just three years ago, the bike rental scheme sees 450 cycles at 40 docking stations dotted throughout the city. Enjoying over 5000 active users and seeing more than 400,000 journeys made, it has certainly filled its brief to get more people cycling. But, with 101 bicycles vandalised in the first quarter of this year alone, there is certainly room for improvement.

Focus on the positives

While receiving such a bill was certainly disheartening for the local community, Councillor Donal Lyons, chair of the council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said we must still focus on the advantages of the scheme.

“It is certainly not cancelling out the benefits the scheme brings to the city. Any level of vandalism is a problem but sadly that’s something that every modern city has to tackle to try to minimise” he said.

Vandalism aside, the council seem to be doing everything they can to combat such issues, this week launching new docking stations in Stranmillis and on the Ormeau Road in Belfast.

“There’s already been a lot of positive anticipation from people in these areas and I’ve no doubt the bikes will be popular” Lyons continues.

What are your thoughts, are there any ways to prevent a repeat of such bills?