British urban cycling brand, Beryl, has been announced as a bike share partner to help the City of London Corporation deliver on the dockless cycling elements of its transport strategy, launched at the 2019 London Cycling and Walking Conference.
Beryl’s innovative bike share scheme is a hybrid of dockless and docked systems, which will see bike parking bays strategically placed throughout the Square Mile.
The City Corporation is trying to increase the number of cyclists in the area by trialling a hybrid dockless scheme, taking feedback and learnings from past and existing schemes. While the number of motor vehicles using the Square Mile’s streets has halved since 1999, the number of people cycling has grown by 292 per cent.
Beryl’s distinctive emerald green bikes, which will be seen on the City’s streets from this Summer onwards, are designed for bay to bay travel. Users will be informed of the location of ‘Beryl Bays’, the preferred parking locations to leave the bikes.
The on-bike, “always-on” GPS enables Beryl to track where bikes are parked, or identify those that need operator intervention, meaning the fleet can be well-managed from their HQ in London.
Londoners will recognise familiar features on Beryl’s dockless bikes; they come fitted with a dynamo-powered Beryl Laserlight, the projection safety device that projects an image of a bike six metres ahead to ensure cyclists can be seen in the blind spot of vehicles. An independently-funded report by the Transport Research Lab demonstrated that the Laserlight reduces blind spots of other vehicles by up to 97 per cent, increasing rider visibility to vehicles by up to 32 per cent.
Beryl has experience in bike share innovation, having been a lighting and technology partner to Transport for London bike share, and providing Laserlights to the bike hire schemes in New York, Montreal and Glasgow. The British company already operates two corporate dockless bike share schemes in London and is accredited with Bikeplus, which is the agreed standard of Best Practice for the industry.
The Beryl-City of London partnership will mark the first time this hybrid dockless model is trialled in central London.
Emily Brooke MBE, Beryl Founder and Chairman, said: “We have designed a different model of bike share - one that is more flexible than the traditional docked schemes, and yet affords us more control than the dockless operators.
“We are very excited to be partnering with a Borough that has one of the highest pedestrian and cyclist traffic volumes in London. Our aim is to create a scheme that ensures bike share is both a viable and convenient modal option for people living and working in the City.”
Alastair Moss, Planning and Transportation Chair at the City of London Corporation said: “We are looking forward to working with Beryl and freebike, who impressed us with their innovative solution to issues facing London, such as overcrowded and cluttered pavements. This trial follows the launch of the City Corporation’s first Transport Strategy, in which we have placed a renewed focus on prioritising the needs of cyclists. We are committed to improving the quality, convenience and accessibility of cycle hire facilities for City visitors, workers and residents to enjoy.”
The scheme will be trialled this Summer in the City of London, with 150 bikes being deployed and available for instant hire. The Beryl bikes weigh 20kg (3kg less than a Santander Cycle), have three-speed gears, a step-through design, with fully adjustable handlebars and seats for a wide range of riders, from 4’11” to 6’5”.
The bike will be available for instant hire via the Beryl App, available for download on the App Store for iOS, and the Google Play Store for Android users. The App will allow users to easily find and unlock any Beryl bike using their smartphone. The bikes cost 5p per minute to ride, with a £1 unlock fee that can be waived if you buy a bundle of minutes.
The results of the trial will be reviewed in six months time, and future developments could include the introduction of the Beryl electric bikes for hire.