The Oxfordshire County Council has pledged £100,000 to pay for a study on the feasibility of launching a rent-a-bike scheme to resolve traffic congestion.The study is planned to start in April. If it is deemed plausible, Oxford could soon have its own low-cost, 24-hour rent-a-bike scheme as those already launched in several European cities, most notably in Paris last July; perhaps as soon as before the summer 2009.The scheme will involve setting up a network of bike stations at key points in the city, including the train station, Westgate Centre, park-and-ride sites and city hospitals.Although the plans are at their embryonic stage, council chiefs hope a credit card-payable rent-a-bike scheme would take a significant number of motor vehicles off the city’s roads. They say they want to make any scheme cheap and convenient.County council cabinet member for transport Ian Hudspeth said, “Congestion is a difficult area to quantify, but we’d hope it takes a significant number of cars off the road.”It will also help to declutter the city and enable us to remove some of the bike racks there, which can be quite unsightly. There would have to be a small charge for bike rental but we want to make it as cheap and convenient as possible rather than having something unwieldy that wouldn’t work,” he addedThe Parisian rent-a-bike scheme that was started last July recorded more than seven million bike trips by the end of 2007.Chairman of Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox James Styring beamed at the possibility of such a scheme. He said, “I think it’s great news. I’m certain there would be uptake from both tourists and city residents.””Even people who own their own bike will probably use them as there are some places in the city where you don’t want to leave an expensive bike,” he added. “In cities that have introduced these schemes, it’s extraordinary how quickly bikes take over the landscape. Some cross-city journeys are complex on a bus because they run on exact routes, but bikes are great for commuters because you can literally go anywhere you want.”Last year Oxford University announced its own plans for a bike loan scheme in the city for its staff.