20/04/2017

Over One Third Of Belfast Bikes Stolen Or Vandalised

More than one third of the popular Belfast Bikes are currently out of action due to theft or vandalism, Belfast City Council have reported.

Since its launch in April 2015, the scheme has almost 5,000 annual members and more than 5,000 casual subscribers, who have clocked up more than 405,000 journeys. However, a recent spate of theft and vandalism is jeopardising the future of the scheme and having a severe impact on the number of bikes in circulation for users, the council said.

Currently, 210 of the 576 bikes in the fleet have either been stolen or have had to be taken out of service due to vandalism, which is costing the scheme almost £1,800 per month. Over the Easter weekend, 19 bikes were stolen, six of which were recovered, and a further eight were vandalised.

The council said that while they understand some of the bikes have been for personal use, much of the damage inflicted on the public bikes is "simply mindless vandalism, with, in one case, a bike being sawn in half."

The Council and the PSNI are appealing to bike users, and the public in general, to report theft and vandalism to the scheme operators, or bring it to the attention of the police.
News Image
Sergeant Pete Cunningham said: "We would appeal to anyone who witnesses any instances of theft or vandalism to the bikes to report this to police immediately so that we can address the issue and deal with those who are responsible.

"Please contact the PSNI by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency. Or, if you would prefer to provide information without giving your details you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers and speak to them anonymously on 0800 555 111."

Belfast's Lord Mayor, Alderman Brian Kingston, added: "Along with our partners, the Department for Infrastructure, we made a conscious decision to invest in a scheme for the benefit of the people of Belfast.

"Belfast Bikes has enjoyed a hugely successful start-up period, and the popularity of the scheme clearly shows that we were right to back the initiative.

"It also goes hand in hand with ongoing and planned future investments in the city's cycling infrastructure, helping us to reduce vehicular traffic, boost the health of our people and add to the friendly relaxed European atmosphere in the city.

"But we have to address the problem of antisocial behaviour and put measures in place to safeguard the scheme."

Many bikes are stolen because they are not properly locked when returned to a docking station. If you're a scheme user, a quick pull of the bike to make sure it is properly locked, will also help to keep the bikes as safe as possible. The PSNI revealed in January that there is an increasing issue of bike theft in general, claiming that bicycle theft is "almost like the new car theft".

(MH/JP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

27 April 2015
Belfast's Bikeshare Scheme Launches
Belfast's public bikeshare scheme has launched today, 27 April. The Belfast City Council scheme, supported by the Department for Regional Development, features 300 bicycles, based at 30 docking stations located across the city centre. Almost 1500 people have registered for the Coca-Cola Zero Belfast Bikes scheme.
10 February 2015
Coca Cola To Sponsor Belfast Bike Scheme
Coca Cola has been announced as the sponsor for Belfast's public bike scheme. The £300,000 sponsorship deal will last for three years and was unveiled by Lord Mayor Nichola Mallon and Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy today. The scheme is due to start in April this year and will be operated by NSL Services.
07 February 2008
Police Pilot Quad Bikes
Already sporting baseball cap-styled headgear, the PSNI is about to add to its up-market trendy image by taking to four-wheel drive transportation with a difference - quad bikes.
29 November 2016
Belfast Bikes Public Hire Scheme Extends Into East Belfast
The Coca-Cola Zero Sugar Belfast Bikes public hire scheme has expanded into east Belfast. A new docking station has been installed at the C.S. Lewis Square and marks the first phase of the bike scheme's expansion into the east of the city, with three more stations planned for 2017.
23 October 2017
Number Of Cars Set On Fire In East Belfast
A number of vehicles have been set alight in east Belfast. Just after 4.15am on Sunday, 22 October, police received reports that a car on Florida Street had been set alight. They are investigating a link between the attacks which they are treating as racially-motivated hate crimes.
23 October 2017
Strike Action Of Baggage-Handlers At Belfast City Airport Suspended
Strike action of baggage-handlers working for Swissport at Belfast City Airport has been suspended. Unite the union met with Swissport management to discuss the issue.
20 October 2017
Appeal Launched Over Death Drivers In West Belfast
Police have launched an appeal for information after a "death driver" was seen driving erratically in west Belfast on Friday, 20 October, at around 3am. The PSNI received reports that a vehicle was performing dangerous manoeuvres in the Falls Road area. The vehicle made off at high speed and was later recovered in the Ross Court area.
20 October 2017
Two Men Arrested Following Car Chase In East Belfast
Two men have been arrested following a car chase in east Belfast. Detectives were carrying out an anti-burglary operation in the Lower Newtownards Road area on Friday, 20 October, and they signalled for a black Ford Fiesta to stop. The car made off and officers chased it and used a stinger device to try to stop the vehicle.
19 October 2017
Lord Mayor Unveils New Belfast Rapid Transit Glider Vehicle
The Lord Mayor of Belfast has unveiled the new Belfast Rapid Transit Glider vehicle Busworld Europe exhibition in Belgium. The new Glider service will come into operation in September 2018 and is set to transform public transport in Belfast.
19 October 2017
Investigations Launched After Gas Explosion In North Belfast
Investigations have been launched following a suspected gas explosion in north Belfast. A number of residents had to be evacuated from their homes in the Farrington Gardens area of Ardoyne on Wednesday night, 18 October. The fire may have started in the area which led to the explosion. One home was significantly damaged.
19 October 2017
Man Assaulted In Belfast City Centre
Police have launched an investigation after a man was assaulted in Belfast. The attack happened in the Howard Street area at around 10.30pm on Tuesday, 17 October. The victim is currently being treated for his injuries in hospital.
18 October 2017
Around £75,000 Of Cannabis Plants Seized In South Belfast
Police have seized around £75,000 worth of cannabis plants from a house in south Belfast. The discovery was made at a property in the Cairnshill Road area on Sunday, 15 October. A quantity of cash was also found.
17 October 2017
Belfast Scientist Discovers Neutron Star Smash-Up Is Source Of Gravitational Wave
A Belfast scientist from Queen's University has led an international team to a historic and ground-breaking discovery, proving that a burst of gravitational waves detected in August came from a smash up of two neutron stars. The discovery also shows that the collision scattered gold and platinum into space.
16 October 2017
Woman Stabbed In South Belfast
A woman, aged in her 20s, has been stabbed in south Belfast. The incident happened in the Balfour Avenue area at around 12.45pm on Sunday, 15 October. The victim had to be treated in hospital, however she has since been released. Police are treating the attack as attempted murder and a 28-year-old man has been arrested.
13 October 2017
Man Charged Following Discovery Of Woman's Body In West Belfast
A man has been charged in connection with the death of a woman who is it believed lay undiscovered in a west Belfast flat for more than two years. The body of 68-year-old Marie Conlon was discovered at the flat on Larkspur Rise on Friday 06 October. Detectives investigating the death detained the 23-year-old man on Wednesday 11 October.