Cycle-hire schemes across the country will receive hundreds of electric bikes to make cycling more accessible, Transport Minister Andrew Jones announced today (28 September 2015).
The ‘e-bikes’, which offer battery-assisted pedalling at the flick of a switch, will make it easier for people who are keen to cycle more but who may be put off by hilly routes or not having cycled regularly.
Winners of the £700,000 fund include commuter cycle-hubs at railway stations and park & rides, a hilly campus university encouraging students to cycle to lectures, and a tourist hire scheme for cycle-getaways on the Isle of Wight.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said:
Electric bikes are a great way to encourage new people to get into cycling and today’s announcement will provide an opportunity for thousands more to enjoy the advantages they offer.
Cycling helps cut congestion and is a healthy, affordable transport option.
We want to double the number of journeys made by bicycle. That is why we are also investing over the next five years in cycle training and infrastructure.
The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Sharing Pilot Scheme is the latest announcement backing the government’s commitment to double the number of cycle journeys by encouraging people of all ages and abilities to get on their bikes.
The winning schemes will offer a variety of opportunities to hire the e-bikes, devised by local organisations up and down the country. Tourists and occasional riders can hire the bikes for one-off Boris Bike-style sessions, while regular users can register with local car clubs to use the e-bikes for as little as £1 an hour.
Successful proposals include:
- 70 e-bikes at an existing popular travel hub in Rotherham to attract commuters who previously do not cycle.
- a new tourist cycle-hire scheme offering 25 e-bikes to visitors to the Isle of Wight making it easier to see more of the island by bike
- a housing association setting up a trial to install 18 e-bikes in low-income communities to provide cheaper, convenient and more accessible travel
- the University of Brighton providing 20 e-bikes to encourage more students to cycle the hilly route between their Eastbourne campus and Eastbourne railway station
- Plymouth receiving an expansion of 20 e-bikes to reduce car dependency at Park & Ride sites and offer a ‘try before you buy’ offer for local residents
- a start-up of 24 e-bikes located at four hubs across Bristol, including Temple Meads station and Avon Fire and Rescue service.
- 16 e-bikes adding to an already popular bike-hire scheme in Oxford targeting the city’s residents, students and hospital workers.
Alistair Kirkbride, Director of Carplus, an organisation that will assist many of the successful schemes, said:
Riding an electric bike is like cycling with the wind behind you. Electric bikes have been shown to encourage more people to cycle more often. By supporting electric cycles in shared bikes networks it will enable a greater number of people to enjoy the benefits in more locations.
A full list of the winning schemes, including the location and number of e-bikes they will receive has been published.