Milton Keynes Council have unveiled a scheme where local residents can now use an electric bike for free through a new sustainable travel plan.
Five electric bikes are initially being loaned out, with the council working with Silverstone-based eBike test centre Fully Charged to offer them for free for four weeks at a time to local people.
The 12-month project is being funded through MK Council’s £2.25m economic recovery fund, which MK Council has declared it is using to help create a fair and prosperous economic recovery after the pandemic.
Cycling and walking in Milton Keynes increased by more than 58% in some areas during the pandemic. The council is looking to capitalise on that interest by promoting the use of eBikes as an environmentally friendly transport option, with the programme intended to be one of the many ways it will help MK become carbon neutral by 2030.
Cllr Jenny Wilson-Marklew is pictured handing over an eBike to MK’s first new loanee, Geoff. She said, “This is a fantastic new scheme to provide local people with real-life daily experience of owning and travelling on an eBike in Milton Keynes.
“Four weeks is enough time to build up a habit and we hope people will fall in love with eBikes during their loan period, as my own family has done, before then looking into owning their own and making the permanent switch to sustainable travel.”
MK’s first eBike loanee, Geoff said, “I’m an avid cyclist and commute to work by bike most days using our Redway network. I’ve always been interested in one day purchasing an eBike and taking part in this new council scheme will help me ‘try before I buy’, which is fantastic and a really useful opportunity.
“I’m always keen to make changes to reduce my impact on the environment, and having access to an eBike could be the added incentive I need for those slightly longer journeys when I’d usually use a car. It’s great that the council is so supportive of projects and initiatives like this.”
Applications to loan an eBike can be made to Fully Charged who’s details are available online on the Get ARound MK website.
Furthermore, MK Council and Fully Charged will host a monthly eBike pick up and drop off session at Station Square, where successful loanees will pick up their equipment and have a short briefing.
Cyclists are also being encouraged to visit the council’s new Get Around MK website, which has been set up for all sustainable travel choices in Milton Keynes, and allowing visitors to plot the quickest and safest routes through the borough.