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Will Hackney’s new Mayor increase green transport initiatives?

Cyclists want Caroline Woodley to make the borough even more friendly for two-wheeled travel

Labour candidate Caroline Woodley was elected Mayor of Hackney last week, filling the vacant position that followed the resignation of Philip Glanville in his ‘error of judgement’ scandal.

She ruffled a few feathers in the run-up to the election by declining to appear at a hustings event put on by Hackney Cycling Campaign (HCC), but she has nevertheless assured residents that her agenda to create a ‘greener, fairer borough’.

HCC asked all mayoral candidates to commit to implementing five key measures to improve the safety and accessibility of travel in the borough, and it was good to see voters largely siding with those who have a clear bike-friendly agenda.

Woodley might want to get started by considering expanding the range of micromobility options available in the borough.

As part of an upcoming story about dockless bike hire and other tech-driven forms of urban transport, The Wick has been speaking to Caroline Seton, co-founder and Head of Growth at bike operator Forest.

Forest currently operate in Tower Hamlets where they are imminently expanding due to high demand, but despite a desire to serve Hackney, the company currently doesn’t have a licence with Hackney Council, meaning riders are unable to travel between neighbouring boroughs, often leading to a build-up of bikes at the borough borders.

It’s a quirk of London’s borough-by-borough approach to shared e-bike licencing that’s holding back the convenience and growth of important new transport options which are popular with users as well as good for the planet.

“With Hackney being one of London’s premier cycling boroughs, it would be a fantastic place to launch Forest eBikes. Seton tells us of Forest’s hopes for the incoming Mayor to demonstrate her pro-cycling stance on the matter. “We believe that Hackney can and should develop a shared rental scheme which reflects the diverse nature of the borough itself.”

“Hosting more than one operator in the borough will lead to better outcomes, including helping Hackney achieve its decarbonisation objectives and giving more residents access to Forest e-bikes which are renowned for being the most affordable and sustainable in the market.”

Would having more than just Lime bikes operating in the borough lead to healthy competition and a better service for residents? Let us know what you think.

Read all about it: look out for the winter print edition of The Wick (out Jan 2024) with a feature dedicated to the exciting developments in urban transport that are being pioneered here in East London