Brisbane City Council’s latest attack on traffic congestion was launched today with the opening of City Cycle, Brisbane’s first public bike hire service.

The program aims to remove cars from inner city roads while improving the health of Brisbane residents.

Paul Smeaton reports.

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It was full steam ahead today for Lord Mayor Campbell Newman as he led more than one hundred cyclists on a lap of the city to mark to opening of Brisbane’s new City Cycle Scheme.

Sports legend Duncan Armstrong came along for the ride.

Duncan Armstrong, Former Olympic Gold Medalist: “I’m what they call a MAMIL – a middle aged man in lycra – and I MAMIL it up most mornings and ride around the river.”

When the network is complete next year, there’ll be up to two thousand bikes at one hundred and fifty stations around the CBD and adjacent suburbs.

With bicycle laws in Queensland requiring all riders to wear a helmet, the program is squarely aimed at regular users who for an annual fee of sixty dollars can ride a bike every day of the year.

The Lord Mayor says that currently, more than thirty per cent of all trips taken by private vehicle in Brisbane are less than three kilometers, a distance which can easily be cycled.

Campbell Newman, Lord Mayor: “Ladies and gentlemen this is for commuters it is not a cycling recreation scheme. It’s for people to use as an alternative to private motor vehicle and indeed in some cases public transport.”

Because casual users will need to provide their own helmet to use the bikes it seems tourists are unlikely to adopt the scheme.

Campbell Newman, Lord Mayor: “It makes it more difficult I agree, it takes away the spontaneity but we have to deal with it, it’s not just Queensland, that’s the law of the land across the whole of Australia now.”

With similar programs proving successful in other major cities throughout the world, it is hoped Brisbane residents will support the cycling revolution.

Paul Smeaton, QUT News.