The arrival of two dockless bike schemes has made Southwark the first London borough south of the river Thames to embrace on demand bike hire.
Both companies are starting out with 200 bikes in Southwark, which can be located, rented and unlocked through their respective apps.
When a cyclist reaches their destination the app tells them where to leave the bike and how to lock it up ready for the next user.
Cllr Ian Wingfield, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for environment and the public realm, said: “Mobike and ofo are experts in their field and are committed to working with us to promote responsible and safe cycling, including the parking of their bikes.
“Many residents have been very clear that this is something that they would welcome and we hope the bikes will encourage people to give cycling a try and get out and explore the whole of Southwark.”
Cllr Wingfield was joined by Steve Pyer, general manager at Mobike and Joseph Seal-Driver, operations manager at ofo, for the launch of the new initiative in Canada Water Square on 12 March.
Southwark Council has a number of other initiatives designed to to improve road safety, cycling infrastructure and air quality.
A number of ‘Quietways’ – which are ideal for new cyclists – have been opened across the borough, and people who are new or returning to cycling can take advantage of the council’s cycle training schemes, which are designed to promote safe, responsible cycling.
In a bid to address the London wide air quality problem, many of Southwark’s schools are working with the council to teach pupils to ride bikes and encourage them to walk and cycle to school.
The council hopes that the new dockless bike schemes will open up cycling to even more people by making it easier for people to ride to the shops and for other leisure trips.