Freebike Ltd will deliver a dockless e-bikeshare scheme in Richmond upon Thames following support from the Council’s Transport and Air Quality Committee.
E-bikes, which are limited to speeds of 15mph, enable people to travel longer distances and tackle steeper hills more easily. The reduced effort required of the cyclist can be useful for people who need to arrive at a destination with particular dress standards and for people who are not confident in their fitness levels for riding a standard bike.
The motors are powered by battery and the batteries require charging every few days. The scheme operators swap the used batteries for fully charged ones.
The Council previously ran a dockless bike trial with ofo before the company withdrew its bikes from the UK market in January 2019. Results from that pilot showed more than 6,000 trips a month were taken on the 200 ofo bikes deployed in the borough.
This new service will add to the ongoing work being done to make cycling more accessible in the borough including removing charges for cycle training, investing in more cycle storage infrastructure and developing cycle routes.
Cllr Alexander Ehmann, Chair of Richmond Council’s Transport and Air Quality Committee said:
Increasing the extent of cycling infrastructure in the borough is an important step to encouraging more residents to make sustainable, environmentally friendly transport decisions in the borough.
I am glad that residents will once again have access to bikeshare facilities in the borough and I would encourage them to take advantage of scheme by making their journeys on an e-bike where they can.”
Katharine Butler, co-founder of freebike said:
We are so pleased to have been chosen as the preferred operator to run Richmond’s dockless bike-sharing trial. We feel this is vindication of our sensitive approach to bike-sharing which ensures an efficient and fun journey for the user and minimal disruption to non-users. This model is particularly important in Richmond with its parks, gardens and elegant streets. We are looking forward to working with the Council on the roll out of the project and to locate places for parking bays.
In the UK, 69% of vehicle journeys are less than 5 miles, these can easily be replaced with freebike, cutting Co2 emissions dramatically. We are determined to get more people out of their cars and onto bikes and to show people how much of a joy electric bikes are to ride.
The Council is also working to source parking spaces for the e-bikes on the road as well as footways alongside our public parking spaces.
– from a Richmond Council press release - 24 July 2019