The Scottish charity Forth Environment Link has launched “Scotland’s largest electric bike hire scheme” called Forth Bike. The first fleet is based at Forth Valley Royal Hospital and also part of an NHS study.
The £500,000 initiative is funded by Transport Scotland, NHS Forth Valley, SESTRAN, Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council and Falkirk Council. It includes twelve bike hire charging stations, including one at Forth Valley Royal Hospital.
More so, overtaking city-wide schemes planned for Glasgow and Edinburgh, the 120 e-bike project by charity Forth Environment Link will also be the UK’s first cross-regional pedelec hire scheme connecting three Council areas: Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire. Together they make up most of Forth Valley, a region also known as the heart of Scotland.
An annual pass for Forth Bike, which uses electric bikes by Canadian firm Bewegen, will cost just £65/year for unlimited journeys or £2 for a single trip. The e-bikes will last for up to 60 miles on a single charge. Early adopters of the scheme will benefit from a free one-month trial.
Some of these first users will be actual patients at the hospital. Forth Environment Link has been working closely with NHS Forth Valley to get staff, patients and visitors to the hospital walking and cycling more. For the e-bike hire point, bowel cancer patients taking part in a study looking at the health benefits of active travel will be regulars there. HS Forth Valley Lead Colorectal Nurse, Linnet McGeever welcomed the cycling scheme as an “opportunity for patients to improve their fitness with the benefits of trained instructors”.
As well as boosting the health of residents, the three Councils believe the e-bikes will prove a draw for tourists visiting the Forth Valley region.
E-bike maker Bewegen now runs a total of 18 sharing schemes across the globe, including in Costa Rica, the US and the UK. Like Forth Bike in Scotland, 15 of the systems are set up together with the public sector.