Monday, July 4, 2016

News: Pedal power boost for Rotherham

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Local businesses are being encouraged to re-discover the joy and convenience of cycling following the arrival of a fleet of electric bikes in Rotherham.

The new fleet of 65 electric bikes have arrived following an award of funding by Carplus-Bikeplus and the Department for Transport through the Shared Electric Bike Programme.

It is part of the Journey Matters programme that provides cycling support service for residents and employees in Rotherham. Attracting people into cycling as a convenient way to commute, it operates services aimed at removing the barriers that prevent people from riding a bike.

One barrier to using electric bikes is their relatively high purchase cost. The programme aims to accelerate uptake of electric bikes through a grant scheme that will support the development of shared bike networks. Eleven schemes, selected by Carplus for funding from the Government, will put over 200 new electric bikes into circulation. Rotherham has secured the most bikes from a pot of £700,000.

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At the official launch event held outside Rotherham Council's Riverside House, Commissioner Julie Kenny CBE DL said: "This is a real boost for cycling in Rotherham. Cycling more can help cut congestion whilst also providing a healthy and affordable transport option. The electric bikes are also great fun to ride."

Cllr. Denise Lelliott, Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy at Rotherham Council, added:: "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."

Through the Journey Matters mobile cycling hub, electric bikes are loaned to employees of Rotherham-based business, as well as residents, for free for up to four weeks. All the important supporting equipment such as bike lights, a lock and helmet are provided. Bikes are also maintained throughout the loan period and participants are supported through cycle training. In addition to the new fleet of electric bikes, a range of pedal and folding bikes are available for people to try for free through the Journey Matters cycle hub.

The Journey Matters team will be working closely with local sustainable travel partners Inmotion!, to drive awareness of cycling as a commuting option and to encourage businesses and their staff to give cycling a go.

The Journey Matters Hub, which travels around the borough visiting various locations and businesses, providing a "one-stop shop" for everything to do with bikes, visited the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP), Capita, Webhelp, South Yorkshire Police, Meadowhall and SVM Global in recent weeks.

Journey Matters website

Images: RMBC

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