Published Thursday, 20 December 2018
Our Active Schools workers will soon be whizzing around South Lanarkshire on eco-friendly eBikes.
South Lanarkshire Leisure and Culture (SLLC) has invested in a fleet of electric bicycles and has now launched a pilot project which 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.
The scheme is initially being wheeled out in the Cambuslang and Rutherglen area. Councillor John Anderson, the chair of the council's Community and Enterprise Resources, said: “We are delighted to have been able to support our colleagues in SLLC in taking this project forward. We are 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 physical 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.”
Funding is coming from the council and the Scottish Government eBike Grant Fund, managed by the Energy Savings Trust. 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.
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.
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 eBikes 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.”
Part of the fleet will also be made available to clients via the ‘Physical Activity Prescription’ social prescribing tool – offering participants access to bikes, training and ongoing support from SLLC’s Health Development team.
Dr. Richard Watson, lead GP and supporter of the ‘Physical Activity Prescription’, said “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 eBike, or electric bike, is a standard pedal cycle fitted with a battery and electric motor. When you pedal, 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 more than 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.