Leicester embraces pedal power with plans for electric cycle hubs
Leicester City Council is planning to add cycling to the city's sustainable transport network using new Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycle (EPAC) hubs.
The city council and sustainable travel experts Go Travel Solutions have submitted the full application for funding for the electric bike hubs as part of a bid for a share of £500,000 from the Department of Transport.
The Government is aiming to develop electric bikes in cities and at tourism hotspots around England.
Leicester is proposing to build the cycle hubs around the University of Leicester, Leicester College and major public transport links to allow locals to pick up electric bikes for quick commutes.
Electrically assisted bicycles reportedly encourage more people to cycle and using the sharing scheme overcomes the obstacle of high purchasing cost.
Leicester City Council transport director Andrew Smith said: “If we are successful with the bid, Leicester will be able to demonstrate how electric bikes could be used to help business travel, travel to work and travel from the rail station.”
He added: “Electric bikes represent another option for sustainable transport to help people get around the city, and it’s an option this bid could help us to explore more thoroughly.”
CO2 reductions and air quality improvements are some of the benefits of electric bikes, but they have previously only seen limited uptake due to their cost.
Go Travel Solutions managing director Robin Pointon said: “The benefits of electrically assisted pedal cycles are manifold but the purchase price has traditionally proven to be a real barrier to growth. A successful bid for the shared EAPC programme will help Leicester to speed up the adoption of electric bikes as a viable and effective mode of sustainable travel.
The UK Government introduced plans for an extra £214m in cycling in November 2014, bringing total Government investment in cycling up to £588m.
The investment is part of a bid to double the number of bicycle journeys made by 2020.
The plans for the cycle sharing scheme add to the growing number of sharing economy initiatives in the UK. In May earlier this year, car sharing was given a boost in London by the introduction of a new City Car Club in Greenwich.
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