Transport for London (TfL) has set out plans to expand the Santander Cycles scheme to keep up with demand during the COVID-19 lockdown easing period.
TfL data shows that cycling in the capital has increased significantly in recent weeks, with many more Londoners using bikes more often for both leisure and essential travel.
According to the transport regulators, last month was the best May in London's cycle hire scheme's 10 year history, with 1,120,620 hires. Last month also had the highest ever number of hires in a single week, with 362,925 hires made between 25 and 31 May; and the highest ever number of hires in a weekend, with 132,979 hires made on 30-31 May.
The free Santander Cycles hire scheme for NHS staff has also fuelled demand, with 30,000 free journeys made since the offer was made available in March.
TfL will now start rolling out eight new docking stations this summer to ensure that more people can use the bikes to get to where they need to be.
Three new docking stations will be built around Clapham Common, improving access to one of southwest London's busiest neighbourhoods and one of the area's biggest green spaces.
Four new docking stations will be built alongside the Cycleway 4 route, which will connect Tower Bridge Road with Rotherhithe, and one at nearby Canada Water. A further six docking stations will be built by the end of the year.
The Santander Cycles hire bike hubs at Liverpool Street and Soho reopened in the spring - several months before they normally open - to meet the increased demand.
TfL is also making 1,700 more Santander Cycle bikes available, bringing the total to more than 14,000 - an increase of nearly 15% and the largest single increase in bikes for the scheme since 2013.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ”I'm determined that our city's recovery from coronavirus will be clean, green and sustainable and enabling more Londoners to cycle is absolutely central to this.
”I'm delighted by the unprecedented demand for cycling over the past few months. We've seen three times the number of people cycling in some parts of our city compared to before the crisis, huge demand for our free cycle hire scheme for NHS staff and carers, and multiple Santander Cycles records being broken.
“By adding new docking stations, cycle hire hubs and bikes we are making it even more convenient to take to two wheels.
”I am proud that our Streetspace for London plans are making it safer and easier to cycle in our city, and freeing up space on public transport for people who have no alternative.”
Image credit: Transport for London