Electric bike pilot scheme rolls out
Active Schools workers in South Lanarkshire got new bikes for Christmas as part of a pilot scheme being wheeled out in Rutherglen and Cambuslang.
They will soon be whizzing their way around on eco-friendly eBikes, with South Lanarkshire Leisure investing in a fleet of electric bicycles.
Several areas of Rutherglen are considered hot spots for higher levels of air pollution, which led to the town being selected as the primary focus of the eBike project.
The pilot project will also see the eBikes being made available to local people participating in the Physical Activity Prescription scheme to encourage them to get pedalling for better physical and mental well-being.
South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC) is deploying the eBikes in partnership with South Lanarkshire Council.
Funding has come from the council and from the Scottish Government eBike Grant Fund, managed by the Energy Savings Trust.
Chair of South Lanarkshire Council Community and Enterprise Resources, Councillor John Anderson, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support our colleagues in SLL&C in taking this project forward and very pleased that the community is being involved with Biketown supplying and maintaining the bikes and the additional potential for them to be used in support of the activity prescription project.
“South Lanarkshire Council continues to invest in and support the development of the local cycle route network which will encourage wider use of both traditional and electric bikes.”
The fund was launched in June, with 19 projects across Scotland being awarded a total of £470,000.
Each project shares the aim of reducing reliance on higher emission modes of transport in communities and improving access to eBikes.
Patrick Murphy, SLLC development services manager, said “We are excited to be launching this project in Rutherglen and Cambuslang. We are confident our efforts will not only raise the profile of e-bikes in the area, but support our staff to travel more efficiently between offices.
“We are also looking forward to exploring the wider benefits of cycling, especially those linked to mental and physical wellbeing.”
Dr Richard Watson, lead GP and supporter of the ‘Physical Activity Prescription,’ added: “Electric bikes will encourage people to use them for journeys that might seem too daunting for an ordinary bike.
“Physical activity is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, and cycling also benefits the whole community through reduced pollution and traffic congestion.”
An e-bike, or electric bike, is a standard pedal cycle fitted with a battery and electric motor. When a cyclist pedals, the motor kicks in to take up some of the strain. Once it reaches a top speed of 15.5mph, it cuts out and leaves the rest up to leg power alone. You can go faster than this, but not with the help of the motor.
eBikes are currently the fastest selling and most popular electric vehicles on the planet – with over 33 million sold worldwide last year.
Keeping it local, SLLC has linked up with the social enterprise, CamGlen Bike Town, who will supply and service the fleet of 15 eBikes for SLLC staff to use for shorter journeys between schools, libraries, leisure facilities and other places of business.
Pedal power From left, Jim Ewing, senior team leader at Biketown, Bronah Byrne, environmental health officer, and Patrick Murphy, SLL&C development manager