Belfast bike hire scheme clocks up Â£44,000 repair bill
Almost 100 hire bikes have been stolen in Belfast since the city council launched the scheme three years ago.
Repairing or replacing the bikes has cost the council nearly £44,000 since the project started in April 2015, according to figures obtained by the BBC.
And 101 cycles have been vandalised in the first four months of this year alone, the figures show.
The Belfast Bikes scheme has 450 cycles at 40 docking stations around the city and there are currently 5,138 active annual members.
More than 400,000 journeys have been made over the scheme’s lifetime.
Councillor Donal Lyons, chair of the council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee, said that while the costs of repairing or replacing bikes was “regrettable”, he added: “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.”
The SDLP representative said the council has been working extensively with the PSNI, schools and others to reduce the level of vandalism, adding that the approach “seems to be working”.
He added: “The number of incidents are down which means that more bikes are available for people to use.
“We’ve also continued to expand the reach of the Belfast Bikes scheme, offering more people local stations and convenient access.
“There’s new stations opening this week in Stranmillis and on the Ormeau Road which means people there will have better accessibility to the scheme.
“There’s already been a lot of positive anticipation from people in these areas and I’ve no doubt the bikes will be popular.”