Could the London cycle hire scheme be expanded to cover more of the capital?

The Borough of Richmond could see Santander hire-cycles if the Liberal Democrats win the by-election.

The Liberal Democrats will campaign for London’s cycle hire scheme to be extended to Richmond, if they win next Thursday’s by-election.

Richmond has one of the capital’s highest rates of cycling, at seven percent, but has so far been excluded from being involved in the Boris bikes initiative, since it was founded in 2010. Two extensions since have omitted the borough.

Next Thursday’s Richmond Park by-election was triggered by the resignation of Zac Goldsmith as Conservative MP over plans to develop a third runaway at Heathrow. Goldsmith, who launched an unsuccessful mayoral campaign this year which featured a lot of anti-cycling rhetoric, is standing as an independent and is expected to retain his seat.

However, though the election is essentially a referendum on local residents’ views on Heathrow, the Lib Dems are wanting it to be about cycle provision, too. Their candidate, Sarah Olney, says she has been encouraged by local support to develop the cycle hire scheme.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the huge support from local residents for bringing cycle hire into the heart of Richmond. This plan would cut congestion, improve air quality and reduce overcrowding on public transport,” she told the Evening Standard.

Any such extension to the scheme would cost the borough in the region of £2m. The nearest current bike dock to Richmond for the Santander cycles are in Putney.