Belfast’s hospitals are the latest locations to benefit from the city’s hugely successful Coca Cola Zero Belfast Bikes public share scheme.
Thanks to the Belfast Trust, two new docking stations are now operational at the Belfast City Hospital and Royal Victoria Hospital. A third station, at the Mater Hospital, will come online later in the summer.
It’s all part of the implementation of ‘Making Life Better’, in which the Belfast Trust is supporting staff to improve their own health and wellbeing.
The further expansion of Belfast Bikes also means a congestion free and healthier transport option for Belfast Trust staff – who frequently need to travel between hospital sites during the course of their working day.
The shared cycles will be available to everyone using the hospitals, and have been described as a: “Welcome expansion to the overall cycle network in Belfast,” by Chief Executive Dr Michael McBride.
The new stations also signal a marked increase in the number of docking stations, and bikes throughout Belfast by 20% since the scheme was launched.
“We expect to announce in the near future that more than a quarter of a million journeys have been undertaken in just 15 months – a terrific achievement and a huge tribute to the hard work and commitment of our partners, including the Trust, in driving forward the scheme and making Belfast a healthier and more cycling friendly city.”
Dr McBride concluded: “Thousands of cycling journeys are made every day in Belfast and the number of people choosing to cycle for leisure and commuting is steadily increasing across Northern Ireland. The additional docking stations and bikes are great news for those wanting to integrate cycling into their everyday lives.”
It comes after Belfast Bikes celebrated its first birthday back in May, when it transformed the City Hall with a day of circus acts from Premiere Circus on vintage bikes, delicious Belfast themed cake, music and live entertainment. Meanwhile, the 33 docking stations throughout the city celebrating by giving away Coke Zero goodies.
Prizes and giveaways as well as free cycling advice helped celebrate the initiative, which was launched on April 27 last year.
At the one year mark, more than 191,000 journeys had been undertaken, covering a staggering total of 174,000 km. The scheme also had some 3,500 annual members.
Overall, the addition of three hospital sites will bring the number of docking stations to 36 by the end of the summer.
Whilst a number of additional locations – including six docking stations within three of the Building Successful Communities (BSC) pilot areas of Lower Shankill/Brown Square, Lower Oldpark and Lower Falls – are currently being planned.