Bicycles to be allowed on trains in pilot project starting January

Bicycles to be allowed o

bike on train 248.88 (photo credit: Composite photo/Yotam Avizohar)
bike on train 248.88
(photo credit: Composite photo/Yotam Avizohar)
Israel Railways and the Israel Bicycle Association came to an agreement late last week to launch a pilot project allowing bicycles to be brought onto the inter-city trains. The pilot project will be launched next month. In addition, by the end of 2010, 1,000 secure parking cages for bicycles will be erected at train stations around the country, the bike advocacy group and Israel Railways CEO Yitzhak Harel concluded at their meeting.   Such storage facilities would make biking a viable "green" door-to-door transport option for many, while also reducing the number of people who would need to take their bike on the train, the organization noted. On Sunday, the NGO sent a letter to Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) thanking him for his support of the pilot project and asking for his support for the protected cages. The association has offered to consult on the technical issues and has brought a number of examples from around the world. They noted that one of the big issues was when and where to allow bikes on the train. They will work in conjunction with the railway to figure out an optimal solution. In other parts of the world, bikes are allowed on the train at off-peak times and only on certain lines, they noted. The association also suggested to Katz a parking-cage model based on that which was recently introduced in Boston. The locked cage holds 80 bikes, is protected by CCTV cameras and riders would be issued a key pass at no extra charge.  A standard for bike parking is currently being discussed by the Interior Ministry's Planning Administration. It will be important to provide information about where to load bikes on the trains and list on the schedules which trains are bike-friendly, stated the association in a prepared presentation. Rules for riding bikes on platforms and the train and loading and unloading bikes and passengers should also be drawn up, it said. It also suggested several different options for storing bikes on the trains themselves. The simplest solution would be to lean the bikes against the folding seats when the seats are not in use and secure them with a band. The drawback to this method is that it is impossible to remove one bike without moving the rest. Other options included placing bike racks on the floor or racks on the walls so the bikes could be hung vertically.