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Blackpool on two wheels

As the London Mayor gears up for the annual Skyride - where landmark roads along the Thames are closed to traffic to make way for cyclists - Blackpool has gone one step further.

Cyclists get ready for a Skyride

The seaside town in Lancashire has set up an on-street bike hire scheme run by Hour Bike. Visitors can peddle around for £8 a day, while locals can purchase a swipe card that gives them a pay-as-you-go rate of £1 per hour.

Blackpool appears to be following the lead of its continental counterparts in Barcelona and Paris where bike hire has become a vital part of the transport network.

Bristol has already got on board with the scheme and, if the murmurs from Boris Johnson's City Hall are anything to go by, London is to follow suit in 2010. But is it going to be safe? Are UK roads, and drivers, ready for a dramatic increase in cyclists?

At the moment, a relatively simple bike ride to work can be riddled with danger, near misses and frustrations as cyclists battle with unseeing, unaware drivers and roads equipped only to deal with four-wheel vehicles.

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