This London district just introduced free cycle taxis for older people

Passengers can help pedal or sit back and enjoy the ride

A new cycle taxi service has been introduced to help older people and those with mobility issues in Hackney, London make short trips by bike free of charge.

Ride Side by Side, which launches this month and is run by Cycle Training UK, with funding from Hackney Council, Transport for London and the Department for Transport, will help residents who use Dial-a-Ride (TfL's free door-to-door service for disabled people who are unable to use buses, trains or the Tube) to attend appointments, go shopping or visit friends.

The four-wheeled taxi bikes are custom-made and allow the driver and passenger to sit side-by-side. Passengers can choose whether they want to join in and pedal, or sit back and enjoy the ride.

George Capon, who trialled a shopping run to the local Tesco, said: “I think it’s an excellent idea. I hope it’ll catch on for lots of older people. It’ll give people that little bit of exercise and would be lovely to do in the summer months.”

There's plenty of space in the front for a few bags of shopping
There's plenty of space in the front for a few bags of shopping

Cllr Feryal Demirci, Hackney Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Transport and Parks said: “We are pleased to launch the Ride Side by Side cycle taxi service in Hackney this Spring.  It will give the chance for those in the borough with mobility issues to get a free lift - whether that’s to the hospital, to meet with friends or visit the local area.  It’s also a great way to experience cycling, whatever your age and to get out and get some exercise.”

The service starts on 18 April and will run every Tuesday throughout the spring and summer, with two hour slots available between:

  • 9am and 11am
  • 11.15am and 1.15pm
  • 1.45pm and 3.45pm
  • 4pm and 6pm

Bookings can be made online at ridesidebyside.eventbrite.com or by calling 020 7232 4384.

Paul Douglas

Global Editor-in-Chief
Happy on both pedal-powered and petrol-powered bikes, Paul joins BikeRadar having just returned to the UK after an 18-month stint working in Berlin. Now back in the West Country, it's a welcome return to country lanes and gravel paths instead of hacking through the urban traffic.
  • Current Bikes: Felt Verza 10, Suzuki DR-Z400SM
  • Beer of Choice: Berliner Kindl
  • Location: Bath, UK
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