The new public e-bike hire service, Leeds City Bikes, will be launched on 15th September.
Leeds City Bikes represents a fully electric public bike hire scheme, providing more individuals with the opportunity to undertake short journeys by cycling. This £2.86 million initiative will offer e-bikes for rent at docking stations in the city centre, as well as along major routes to the south and north-west, with plans for further expansion into other areas.
Conceived, developed, and executed by the British e-bike operator Beryl in collaboration with Leeds City Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the service has been made feasible through funding acquired via the West Yorkshire Mayoral devolution agreement.
A special event is scheduled for 23rd September to commemorate the launch of the service. Attendees will have the chance to inquire about the service, test the bikes in supervised rides, and partake in enjoyable activities with the opportunity to win prizes such as complimentary bike minutes and water bottles.
The rides will be supervised by representatives from Leeds City Council and Beryl and will commence from Cookridge Street, running from 10am to 4pm. Participants must register for a supervised ride and should be at least 16 years old and capable of independently operating an e-bike.
Councillor Helen Hayden, Executive Member for Infrastructure and Climate, commented, “It’s fantastic to see this scheme launching. A public bike hire scheme has been a long ambition of Leeds and it’s a crucial part of offering quick and sustainable journeys across the city centre. We want Leeds to be a city where you don’t need to own a car and a key part of that is expanding and supporting our cycling network. This bike hire scheme is a great way use that network for short journeys, as well as long hopefully in the future.
“We know that compared to conventional push bikes, e-bikes are an easier access point for new users including older people, women, people with limited physical strength, people who have limited cycling confidence or experience and people who are looking to take up cycling. I hope that Leeds City Bikes will encourage more people to try cycling without the investment of buying their own bike.”
This initiative is part of the Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy, aimed at making Leeds a city where owning a car is not a necessity.
Leeds City Council and the Combined Authority have collaborated closely with accessibility groups, communities, and other key stakeholders to ensure the service is accessible to as many people as possible.
The service is being funded by the Combined Authority through its Transforming Cities Fund programme, which aims to facilitate walking, cycling, and public transport usage.
Pending further funding, it is anticipated that the Leeds e-bike hire service will serve as a blueprint for similar schemes across West Yorkshire in the future.
Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said; “It’s great to see these e-bikes on the streets of Leeds.
“We want to create a stronger and better-connected region so everyone has the same opportunity to get on in life.
“And a reliable and inclusive transport network, which puts walking and cycling at the heart of our everyday journeys, is key to this.”
Phil Ellis, CEO of Beryl, said; “We’re delighted to be working with another of the UK’s major transport authorities to make sustainable transport even more accessible to people across Leeds while helping to further decarbonise the city’s integrated transport system.
“We are the UK’s only home-grown shared transport provider, designing and assembling our own products and industry-leading technology, while maintaining control over safety, durability and quality.
“Our bikes are not only fun, reliable, and simple to use, they’re also cost-effective compared to private vehicle ownership, removing the costs associated with fuel, parking, storage, tax, maintenance, MOT and insurance.
“By swapping four wheels for two, you can not only contribute towards improving air quality and reducing traffic congestion, you can also boost your own physical and mental health, so why not give it a go.”
Selina Stead, Executive Dean for the Faculty of Environment, said; “The University of Leeds is keen to support and promote sustainable travel options like e-bikes. This is a fantastic initiative that will benefit our community of staff and students. We look forward to encouraging people to use this new e-bike hire service.”
To register for a supervised ride, please visit https://bit.ly/LCBEB.