Mayor Dave Hodgson open new bike shelter Image: Bedford Borough Council

The new smart bike unit on Horne Lane, Bedford has been officially opened, with a ribbon cutting by Mayor Dave Hodgson. This new unit is in the same location as the old bike racks by Harpur Square.

The Council said that this is the UK’s first ever cycle hub to feature an app-based locking system that can be managed from a smartphone or tablet.

The unit uses secure encrypted Bluetooth and ‘Near Field Communications’ to communicate between your phone and the shelter, you do not need internet access.

Over 250 people have already signed up to use the unit, and since it opened for use earlier this summer it has already been used over 300 times.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said:

“It was great to officially open this new bike unit. Safer cycle parking is a priority for cyclists and this new unit is a real asset to our town centre. Cyclists will still need to lock their bikes in the shelter, but this added security will help to keep bikes safer.

“This is just one in a number of different projects across our town centre; with the High Street works to reduce traffic in the town, and the Town Deal and Heritage Action Zone bringing additional investment and improvements.

“This is part of our largest ever investment in cycling infrastructure in Bedford Borough, helping make Bedford a safer place for pedestrians, cyclists and all road users.”

To access the shelter, cyclists just need to email Sustainable.Transport@bedford.gov.uk with their full name, address in Bedford Borough and phone number.

They will then receive details on how to access the unit and will need to download the ‘Okey Access’ app on their smart phone.

This shelter is being funded as part of the Government’s £1m Town Deal Accelerator Fund. One of the other projects is the signing of 27 cycle routes into the town centre and a circular route around the town to encourage more people to cycle.