In 2010 Dumfries launched a £155,000 bike hire scheme called Bike2Go, designed to encourage residents to swap their car for a bike.
This was in line with the Scottish Government’s set vision during the same year: 10% of all journeys in Scotland being by bike by year 2020. Subscribers of the Bike2Go scheme could rent bikes for free for 30 minutes at a time across at eleven locations across the town.
Government and campaign bodies warmly welcomed after the success of similar initiatives in cities such as London, Stockholm and Paris. In ten weeks the Boris Bikes had recruited 95,000 members and powered 1 million journeys. It was a huge success.
The story of the Dumfries bikes is slightly different. The scheme was launched in September 2010, during the winter months and was not off to the best start. In the first ten weeks, the number of bikes rented averaged about twenty a week. The council blamed the poor weather conditions. However, the uptake never really took off in the next coming years either.
The Dumfries Council claimed a marketing campaign would increase awareness and uptake of the scheme. Despite efforts to turn the bike scheme around, the numbers remained low and during the summer of 2012 the poor weather was pointed out as the culprit once again.
In 2013 it emerged that during the three years the scheme had been in action the bikes had only been rented about 2,270 times, an average of about two rentals daily. This was costing more than £60 per rental. The scheme had so far recruited 171 members.
Councillor Brian Collins expressed the council had no intention of dropping Bike2Go as the bikes were a long-term project in changing mindsets and therefore might not experience immediate success.
At the end of last year the council removed all the bikes from the locations across Dumfries for “maintenance and overhaul”. It was recently announced that further funding is needed to continue with the bike scheme. The councillors are also looking into re-launching the bikes in conjunction with ScotRail’s nationwide Bike & Go scheme, which will be implemented this spring.
What went wrong?
How can a scheme that looked promising on paper and had experienced great success in other cities fail so comprehensively? Cycling campaigner Sally Hinchcliffe of Cycling Dumfries when speaking to the BBC said:
“It’s a shame that the bikes weren’t more successful, but the few times we have used them in the past we found the rental system very clunky to use and sometimes it just wouldn’t work at all, although most people who actually managed to rent one of the bikes enjoyed riding them.”
This suggests that it was more than the bad weather preventing the success of Bike2Go. An unreliable system could result in delays of the journey for the users, which if they were using it as part of the commute, was always going to be unsustainable. Regarding the future of the bike scheme Hinchcliffe said:
“We hope that the relaunch will include discussions with local groups about how to make the most of the bikes – perhaps an on-street rental scheme isn’t the best use for them.”
“For instance, they could be integrated into Abellio’s Scotland-wide bike hire scheme based at the station, or be made available to community groups for bike rides or loan bikes.”
The future for Scotland’s first bike hire scheme is uncertain at the moment but perhaps the possible collaboration on the horizon and further investments in streamlining the rental process could help keep the scheme afloat.
The difficulties of the bike scheme in Dumfries could lead you to question the Scottish Government’s cycling vision. Perhaps we have a longer way to go when trying to change people’s mindset regarding their transporting behaviours than we thought.
One reason for the decline in bike rental is the falling cost of car leasing. With more leasing brokers popping up and vehicle manufacturers getting in on the act, companies like Lease Fetcher are able to offer a brand new car at a fraction of the cost.
And when the choice is between a cold, rainy slog on the bike and a warm ride in a new car, I know which one I’d go for.
Common Motoring Offences in Dumfries
If you have been charged with a motoring offence in the south of Scotland, it is possible that you will be called to one of Dumfries’ courts. Below are some of the common offences people find themselves charged with in and around Dundee.
Careless Driving arises where a person drives “without due care and attention” or “without reasonable consideration for other road users”. This is an area which has generated a great deal of case law as just about every driver has, at one time or another, driven without due care and attention.
How We Can Help
If you have been charged with a motoring offence anywhere in or around Dumfries, our specialist road traffic legal team is ready to help you. Our extensive experience in the sector allows us to quickly assess the merits of your case and provide a range of suitable options for you.
We will prepare your case, arrange for supporting documentation and make forceful representations for you at court. We pride ourselves in offering a service that is friendly, reliable and honest. For free advice without obligation contact us below: