I have just returned from Paris, where the Velib rules the city's streets. Paris is a fascinating case study to compare to London - the streets are wider and have more cycle lanes, but there is still a real problem with congestion and intimidating vehicular traffic. On my short trip I noticed a lot of Velib traffic, though less people using their own bikes. Paris, like London, is making a start but has yet to embrace the bicycle fully.
So back to London, where we are now assured a new contract means we will see better bike availability for us all. It's certainly a step forward. But note Bob Crow's comment: 'If it is not to become an embarrassment to the Mayor, the Boris bike scheme needs more docking stations, more bikes and crucially more and better paid staff'. Mr Crow has a point; the success of the scheme means central London in particular needs more bikes and more people to help manage them. In central Paris the docking stations come thick and fast - compare to London where major destinations such as St James's Park are devoid of docks, and rail stations struggle to meet demand.
In his latest transport vision, the Mayor sees cycle hire as the norm rather than the exception (p38). But the Mayor issues a lot of visions - we need to see a few turned into reality. There is a lot of work still to do. But the direction of travel is encouraging.
In other news ... controversy over the siting of a docking station in Hammersmith and Fulham. We've seen this before of course. For what it's worth, I agree with Mr Aldworth.