MADRID -Politicians say Madrid’s shared electric bicycle scheme, due to launch this month, can change the lives of citizens - but others warn it will put their lives in danger.

The Spanish capital is seeking to match rival Barcelona, as well as Paris and London, by providing hundreds of bicycles for public hire - with the added feature of electric motors to help riders up slopes.

The self-service stands that will hold the 1,500 electric bicycles started appearing around the centre of the Spanish capital this week, but the planned May 1 start has been pushed back to an unconfirmed date.

Taxi driver Juan Gutierrez, 54, said he heard about the project just a week before the stands started going up. He shook his head at the thought of sharing the narrow streets with more bicycles. “People in Madrid value their lives too much to get on a bicycle here. It is very dangerous,” he said. “If the car that knocks you down doesn’t kill you, then the one behind it will.”