xeter is to receive electric bicycles as part of a cycle-hire scheme being rolled out across the country, aimed at making cycling more accessible.
The battery-assisted pedalling of the ‘e-bikes’ will make it easier for those who wish to cycle more, but are usually deterred by Exeter’s more hilly routes.
First Great Western and cycle hire scheme ‘Netbike’ have teamed up for the project in Exeter, and 22 electrically assisted pedal cycles will be delivered to business parks and train stations.
Commuter cycle-hubs at railways stations and park and rides, a hilly campus university, and a tourist hire scheme on the Isle of Wight were all winners of the £700,000 scheme announced by Transport Minister Andrew Jones today.
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.”
The scheme is the latest announcement backing the governments promise to double the number of cycle journeys by encouraging all ages and abilities to cycle more.
The winning schemes will offer a number of opportunities to hire the e-bikes, devised by local organisations across the country.
Tourists and less frequent riders can hire the e-bikes for one off sessions, and more regular cyclists can register with local car clubs to use the cycles for less than £1 an hour.
Alistair Kirkbride, director of Carplus, an organisation that will assist with many of the successful e-bike schemes country-wide, 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 bike networks it will enable a greater number of people to enjoy the benefits in more locations.”