Stirling wins Scotland's first large-scale electric bike hire scheme

Economy secretary Keith Brown celebrates the hire scheme's 37,000 journeys with Forth Environment Link executive director Clara Walker. Picture: Forth Environment Link
Economy secretary Keith Brown celebrates the hire scheme's 37,000 journeys with Forth Environment Link executive director Clara Walker. Picture: Forth Environment Link
Share this article
0
Have your say

Scotland's first large-scale electric bike hire scheme will be launched next year in Stirling, economy secretary Keith Brown announced today.

More than 50 e-bikes will be available to make cycling easier after Forth Environment Link was awarded £270,000 by the Scottish Government's Transport Scotland agency.

The scheme's cycles will be joined by more than 50 electric bikes next year. Picture: Forth Environment Link

The scheme's cycles will be joined by more than 50 electric bikes next year. Picture: Forth Environment Link

The news coincided with the charity celebrating the third anniversary of its Stirling Cycle Hub hire scheme, run by nextbike, which runs a similar one in Glasgow.

Current e-bike schemes include eight which Edinburgh University staff can use free.

Forth Environment Link has yet to decide which firm will run its e-bike fleet.

The development comes after annual journeys made using Stirling's 160 nextbike cycles have more than tripled to nearly 24,000 since they were launched.

Nextbike UKmanaging director Julian Scriven, Stirling SNP MSP Bruce Crawford, economy secretary Keith Brown and Forth Environment Link executive director Clara Walker at Stirling Bridge. Picture: Forth Environment Link

Nextbike UKmanaging director Julian Scriven, Stirling SNP MSP Bruce Crawford, economy secretary Keith Brown and Forth Environment Link executive director Clara Walker at Stirling Bridge. Picture: Forth Environment Link

Campaigners said the move into electric bikes should be copied in hilly Edinburgh.

Ian Maxwell, of Spokes, said: "Adding electric bikes to the hire scheme in Stirling should help to extend the usage.

"Many people who hesitate to use pedal cycles because of hilly journeys or lack of puff may try out the the electric powered option.

"Having e-bikes available on hire is a great way of tempting these users, as the high price of a good-quality electric bike is off-putting.

"As Edinburgh City Council deliberates on how to run a full blown hire scheme, they should take note of this Stirling venture.

"E-bikes for hire in central Edinburgh could be attractive to both tourists and locals."

Stirling Cycle Hub manager Graham McQueen, said: “Since its launch in 2014, the nextbike scheme has been hugely popular.

"We’ve recorded over 37,000 journeys in total, which for a city the size of Stirling is incredible.

"Stirling is certainly showing signs of embracing a cycling culture, we’re starting to see a change in mindset.

"We now have over 2,000 active users of the scheme, many of whom have swapped their everyday car or bus journeys for the bike – which is great for their health and the local environment."

Mr Brown said: “Stirling’s scheme has been incredibly popular, and demonstrates how availability and ease of access can rapidly increase cycling rates.

"We’ve directly invested over £1m into the Stirling Cycle Hub and its nextbike initiative since 2013, and today’s award will ensure the continued success of what has been achieved."

Nextbike UK managing director Julian Scriven said: "We are delighted the people of Stirling have taken bike share to their hearts.

"The project has made great strides in improving access to cycling across the city.”