Elec­tric bike pilot scheme rolls out

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

NIKI TEN­NANT

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

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