E-BIKE: Trial of scheme is heading to Rhyl this summer
A pilot of a national e-bike scheme which will encourage people to take up cycling is heading for Rhyl this summer.
The seaside town has been chosen as one of four destinations across Wales to take part in the two-year initiative, the Welsh Government announced this week.
The finer details have not been finalised but Sustrans Cymru, the walking and cycling charity, will be heading up the trial.
It will offer low cost hire and long-term loan of e-bikes for local residents.
The idea is to engage with community groups and gather data to help better understand journey patterns and inform future development of cycle paths – as well as encouraging people to get out and get fit.
The e-bikes themselves are pedalled as normal but have an electric motor which can be set to kick in when the rider meets resistance, like when going up an incline.
Software built into the bikes, along with GPS equipment, will also gather data on journeys, times and distances.
Christine Boston, Sustrans Cymru director, said: “Sustrans Cymru are thrilled to be delivering this e-bike pilot project in Rhyl.
“E-bikes have the potential to transform the way people think about active travel.
“They allow people to enjoy cycling longer distances, build fitness and cycling ability and they are cheaper to run than a car or motorbike.
“By working directly with the community, we will gather valuable data from participant feedback.
“This will help inform Welsh Government of the potential that e-bikes hold in decarbonising transport.
“The project will empower people who would not usually cycle to try a sustainable way of travelling.
“It will also provide an alternative travel option to those who may not own a car.”
Rhyl joins Swansea, Aberystwyth and Barry in trialling the e-bikes, which should become available in June or July this year.
Encouraging people who wouldn’t normally use a cycle, by using the power assisted versions, is also seen as a way of tempting people to get fitter, as well as pushing “green” modes of transport.
Welsh Government’s deputy minister for transport, Lee Waters, said: “We want to give people more options of how to get around, and in particular we want to make greener forms of transport more convenient and accessible.
“Sustainable travel requires a culture change and the pilots are another step towards delivering our goal.
“There is a strong link between e-bikes and active travel as more people get used to being on bikes.
“There are also specific benefits in rural communities where longer distances are more common, with e-bikes making cycling viable for more people.”
Words: Jez Hemming, Local Democracy Reporter
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