A BICYCLE hire scheme similar to London’s ‘Boris bikes’ is to be trialled in Aberystwyth.
The Welsh Government is to fund a pilot scheme to accelerate the uptake of electric bikes (e-bikes) and electric cargo bikes (e-cargo bikes) in Wales.
Lee Waters said the move is part of efforts to deliver a culture change in how people get around in Wales, creating a greener and more convenient transport network.
International examples have shown that e-bikes are a practical alternative to the car for some people. The schemes therefore adds to a range of Welsh Government policies that look to tackle congestion and get people more active.
The pilots will see four e-bike ‘hubs’ established in Aberystwyth as well as Rhyl, Swansea and Barry.
They will offer low-cost hire and long-term loan of e-bikes for local residents.
An e-cargo bike library will also be established in Aberystwyth, offering free trials of e-cargo bikes as well as advice and training for local businesses and residents. E-cargo bikes offer the potential to reduce van traffic, for example being used for last mile deliveries.
It is envisioned the schemes, which will run over two years, will be open to the public and businesses in the summer.
Llwybr Newydd, the Welsh Government’s draft transport strategy, has committed to a significant reduction of emissions from the transport sector.
Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport, said: “We want to give people more options of how to get around, and in particular we want to make greener forms of transport more convenient and accessible.
“Sustainable travel requires a culture change and the pilots are another step towards delivering our goal.
“There is a strong link between e-bikes and active travel as more people get used to being on bikes. There are also specific benefits in rural communities where longer distances are more common, with e-bikes making cycling viable for more people.
“These pilots will be used to gather evidence and inform policy, with a view to a wider rollout in the future.”
Sustrans Cymru will work with local social enterprises to deliver these pilots. They will engage with participants and use monitors fitted to e-bikes and e-cargo bikes to develop an evidence base.
Christine Boston, Director, Sustrans Cymru said: “Sustrans Cymru are thrilled to be delivering this pilot project in five locations across Wales. e-Bikes and e-Cargo bikes have the potential to transform the way people think about active travel.
“By working directly with communities, we will gather valuable data from participant feedback including journey patterns, barriers and network development needs. This will in turn help inform Welsh Government of the potential that E Bikes hold in decarbonising transport.
“The project will empower people who would not usually cycle to try a sustainable way of travelling. It will also provide an alternative travel option to those who may not own a car.”