Lee Waters MS, Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport
Today, I am pleased to announce that the Welsh Government will fund pilot schemes to support and accelerate the uptake of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes across Wales and gather learning to inform future policy.
An e-bike is a bicycle with an integrated battery and electric motor which can be used to assist propulsion. A cargo-bike utilises the same principle but also offers capacity to carry heavy (e.g. >100kg) and bulky loads.
Four e-bike ‘hubs’ will be established in Rhyl, Swansea, Aberystwyth (also including links into Newtown) and Barry and will offer low cost hire and long term loan of e-bikes for local residents. Two e-cargo bike ‘libraries’ will be established in Aberystwyth and Swansea, offering free trials of e-cargo bikes, advice and training for local businesses and residents.
Numerous studies indicate that e-bikes support increases in active travel, and therefore help to combat climate change, air pollution and congestion, all whilst delivering significant health and wellbeing benefits for our communities. Furthermore, e-bikes help to make active travel an accessible, attractive and viable option for a greater proportion of society; e-bikes have broader appeal than conventional cycling, including to older people and women, and are on average used for longer trips than conventional cycles – making them particularly relevant for rural communities.
E-cargo bikes offer the potential to address the rise in van traffic - which has increased by around a quarter in Wales since 2008. Their use can replace vans for short journeys, for example in last mile deliveries, and therefore will also help to reduce emissions, air pollution and congestion in our towns and cities.
Supporting the uptake of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes is fully in line with the vision set out the new Wales Transport Strategy, Llwybr Newydd, to create an accessible, sustainable transport system.
Sustrans Cymru will work with local social enterprises to deliver these pilots and will engage with participants and use monitors fitted to e-bikes and e-cargo bikes to develop an evidence base to inform future policy. Depending on results from these pilots, the Welsh Government may look to provide further support to accelerate the uptake of e-bikes and e-cargo bikes in Wales.