THE chairman of the transport committee at City Hall is confident that Limerick’s public bike-sharing scheme will prove a success and won’t be abused.
Cllr Ger Fahy pointed that concerns about theft and vandalism had also been aired in advance of DublinBikes being wheeled out but had proved to be unfounded.
Limerick gardai were surprised that bicycle thefts in the division more than doubled from 14 to 32 in the first quarter of last year, a phenomenon they attributed to the number of people buying expensive bikes under cycle-to-work schemes.
But supporters of public bike-sharing schemes say the bikes used in them are typically too cumbersome and heavy for thieves and would have no resale value.
“There was some anxiety before the scheme in Dublin that bikes would be stolen but that hasn’t happened at all and I have no reason to believe Limerick would be any different,” said Cllr Fahy.
“Limerick Smarter Travel and the agencies involved are in touch with DublinBikes on all the issues including security and of course our local gardai would also have to be involved to ensure the bike docking stations around the city are supervised and to ensure there is no vandalism or other misconduct,” he said.
“It has worked tremendously well in Dublin with little or no bikes being robbed and I am sure it will prove very positive for Limerick as well.”
Cllr Fahy said last week’s public information session on the bike-sharing scheme, which is due to begin in Limerick next year, had gone very well.
“It will be of great benefit to the city as it will mean people leave the car at home and use more public transport. It will improve people’s health and their quality of life. Such a scheme would make living in the city centre a more attractive option for people and it would also enhance the offering we have for tourists and other people visiting our city,” he said.
Due to become operational by autumn of next year, the scheme will start out with 200 bikes to hire at little or no cost at 23 stations around the city. It will initially focus on the city centre but could be expanded outward if it proves a success.