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Funding awarded for try before you buy E-Bike scheme

Published Tuesday, 22 June 2021

City of York Council has been awarded £133,040 from the Department for Transport to offer York residents the chance to try an E-Cycle before considering purchasing one at a discounted price.

The ‘E-Cycle Switch’ scheme is set to launch next month offering anyone that lives, works or studies in York the opportunity to borrow an E-Cycle from a participating local bike shop and trial it for 7 days with no obligation to buy. Once their trial is complete, participants will be eligible for a £300 discount off E-Cycles at any participating bike shop.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Transport said;

This scheme offers residents a new opportunity to experience and enjoy the benefits that E-Cycles bring, before deciding whether or not to make the switch to electric cycling.

"The offer could enable drivers to leave their car at home more often, active cyclists to take on longer journeys or heavier loads or else support those with limited mobility or fitness to access the benefits of cycling with standard E-Cycles and adapted E-Cycles available.

“We know that York residents want to make sustainable lifestyle choices and help to reduce congestion and pollution.. We want to offer them more opportunities to consider low-carbon options for getting around the city. I’m delighted that this DfT funding will enable us to do just that and offer York residents yet another sustainable option for travel.”

Cycling Minister Chris Heaton Harris said:

As we build back greener from the pandemic, this Government is committed to enabling as many people as possible to boost their health and fitness and help reduce emissions by hopping on a bike and taking up cycling for shorter journeys.

“Today’s announcement will help make this happen, with a total of £1.48 million going towards fantastic initiatives in areas right across the country to promote the use of E-Cycles. So whether you’re new to cycling, or would like to try a cycle that does some of the legwork for you, these initiatives will help more people to have access to active forms of travel.”

Around 60% of car journeys are less than 5 miles, meaning the simple switch to more sustainable modes of transport can have a positive impact on health, local air quality and congestion across the city. Additionally, the carbon emission of an electric cycles is less than 10% of a petrol fuelled car over its life cycle.

Over the past 12 months retailers across the UK have seen a spike in E-Cycle sales as lockdown encouraged many to choose active travel in their local area. However, cost has proven to be a significant barrier to those wishing to try out this sustainable mode of transport.

Variations of the scheme are being finalised to accommodate for the inclusion of adapted E-Cycles with an increased discount and also for an extended trial period and increased discount for those currently unemployed and seeking employment.

Once the scheme goes live, participants will be able to sign up online via the iTravel website to take part in the ‘try before you buy’ scheme. Working with participating local bike shops across the city, customers will be able to choose their preferred shop and liaise directly with the shop to collect an E-Cycle that is right for them. Once the trial is complete, there will be the option the purchase any E-Cycle from any of the participating retailers with a discount of £300.