Residents in the South Yorkshire town of Rotherham are being encouraged ‘to re-discover the joy and convenience of cycling’…by using electric bikes.
The launch of a loan scheme using a fleet of 65 electric bikes in the town has the backing of ministers and follows a successful funding bid by Rotherham MBC to the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Carplus-Bikeplus Shared Electric Bike Programme.
The electric bike scheme launch
Rotherham was one of 11 winning schemes across England, in a scheme that will put over 200 new electric bikes into circulation.
Transport minister Andrew Jones supported the Rotherham scheme, which will make the electric bikes available on a free loan to workers and residents across the council’s area.
He said: ‘Electric bikes are a great way to encourage new people to get into cycling and I hope this interesting scheme encourages more people to take it up.
‘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.'
Cllr Denise Lelliott, Rotherham’s cabinet member for jobs and the local economy, said: ‘By 2020, we want four out of five local journeys to be by bike, foot or public transport. It's a big challenge, but this new fleet of electric bikes will really help us lead the way.’
The electric bikes will be used as part of the area’s existing Journey Matters mobile bike scheme, which aims to attract people into cycling as a convenient way to commute.
Through the Journey Matters mobile cycling hub, electric bikes are loaned for free to residents and employees of Rotherham-based businesses for up to four weeks.
Supporting equipment such as lights, a lock and helmet is provided. Bikes are also maintained throughout the loan period and participants supported through cycle training.
Pedal and folding bikes are also available for free through the Journey Matters cycle hub for those people who want to give conventional cycling a go.