Government funds electric bikes pilot scheme

12.00 | 28 September 2015 | | 3 comments

The DfT has announced £700,000 of funding to provide hundreds of electric bikes for cycle-hire schemes across the country.

The Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle Sharing Pilot Scheme is the latest initiative as part of 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 DfT’s 2014 National Travel Survey showed that just 2% of all trips were made by bicycle, with 64% of trips made by car.

The ‘e-bikes’, which offer battery-assisted pedalling at the flick of a switch, are designed to encourage people who may be put off by hilly routes or not having cycled regularly.

The DfT says the initiative will “make cycling more accessible and reduce road congestion”.

Beneficiaries of the £700,000 fund include commuter cycle-hubs at railway stations and park & rides, a university located on a hilly site and a tourist hire scheme on the Isle of Wight.

Andrew Jones, transport minister, 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.

“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. Cycling helps cut congestion and is a healthy, affordable transport option.”


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    Electric cycle hire schemes have been very successful in a number of areas, helped by start-up funding from the DfT Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

    Bob, there is one close to you in the Lake District that you could try:

    Knowing how congested the narrow lanes in popular areas like the Lakes can get, this is a great way to encourage those of us who don’t feel up to conventional cycling on hilly areas to leave the car in the hotel car park and get on a bike. I’ve tried them and they are great fun and they do flatten out the hills. What’s not to like?

    Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB
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    To put that into perspective, isn’t £200,000 about equal to the first year depreciation on 40 cars? Sounds like subsidising electric and non-electric hire bikes provides excellent use of public funding!

    Rod King, 20’s Plenty for Us
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    A few years ago I think £200,000 was available for cycle hire such as this (without the electrics) in my area. Within 12 months the damage and theft of the bikes made the whole thing a ridicule. Funding dried up and the bikes or rather what was left of them were removed. Now we go for electric bikes. I hope that they will have more success than the first but I doubt it.

    Bob Craven, Lancs. Space is Safe Campaigner
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