After a lengthy campaign, cyclists will be able to take their bicycles on Docklands Light Railway trains during off peak times for a six-month trial period starting next week.
Cyclists can now take their machines on all DLR routes during off-peak hours on weekdays and all day on weekends and bank holidays.
This victory comes after years of lobbying by the London Cycling Campaign which has targeted the DLR, as there are limited routes where cyclists can cross the Thames safely.
Robert Lister, Tower Hamlets Wheelers newsletter editor, told ELL: “Now the DLR trains are bigger I can’t see why cyclists can’t carry bikes outside the busy time. People will now have an option to use the DLR to get across the river from Island Gardens to Greenwich when the foot tunnel is closed.”
In preparation for the new scheme the LCC are running a pre-trial event this weekend when a group of voluntary cyclists will use the DLR to identify any problems with using public transport.
Charlie Lloyd of LCC said: “Serco Docklands asked us to do this so we can get people who are used to carrying bikes on trains and find out what the issues are. I think we will find the difficulties will be using stairs and lifts.”
Kevin Thomas, managing director of DLR Operator, Serco Docklands, said: “We urge cyclists to take care while they travel and keep their bicycles with them at all times to ensure we are able to continue to carry bikes in the long term.”
Serco Docklands say they are supportive of the proposals by Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, to invest £400 million over the next three years into developing cycling infrastructure. Johnson said that he intends to double the number of cyclists over the next 10 years by adopting Dutch cycling designs.
Labour MP John Biggs, London Assembly member for City and East, who has campaigned for cycling safety, welcomed the trial.
There are some variations to the new scheme. Bicycles will not be able to board or alight at Bank station and cyclists will be discouraged from using Cutty Sark DLR station and instead encouraged to go via Greenwich DLR station which is more accessible for bikes. The DLR say they will keep the trial under review and suspend it if there are commercial or safety risks.