City checks out Boris Bikes plan
The Boris Bikes scheme in London could provide inspiration for solving transport gridlock.
Leicester City Council is watching closely as the cycle hire scheme is rolled out across London by Mayor Boris Johnson's administration.
Despite teething problems, it has generally been considered a success.
Known officially as Barclays Cycle Hire, the bicycle sharing scheme was launched on July 30.
At the launch, there were 315 bicycle docking stations and 5,000 bicycles available in central London.
Some 400 docking stations and 6,000 bicycles will be available at the end of the summer.
Councillor Sarah Russell, the city council's lead member for the environment, said: "Increasing the number of people in Leicester who cycle would have so many benefits.
"Congestion would be reduced and general health would improve."
Under the capital's scheme, it is free to use the bikes for up to 30 minutes. Prices then rise from £1 for an hour through to £35 for six hours. There is a late return charge of £150.
Members have a key which detects when they take a bike, and their account is debited accordingly.
The project covers about 17 square miles of central London, including the whole of the City.
It will cost about £140 million over six years. Barclays bank contributed £25 million in return for company branding on the bikes. The scheme is expected to eventually pay for itself.
Coun Russell said: "We're looking at the London scheme for inspiration and seeing how it works, but it is a major project which has cost millions."
She said she was also interested in smaller schemes, such as one in Bristol, where anyone over the age of 12 is able to rent a bike for any length of time from secure bike racks installed at points across the city.
Members of the scheme each receive a smart card and a PIN. When the PIN is typed into a pad on any of the stands, a bike is released.
Bikes can be returned to any stand. The rental period then ends and credit is deducted from the member's account.
Members can use the internet to check the availability and location of bikes and the amount of credit in their account.