Councils urged to support bike sharing to boost sustainability

Bike share schemes can reduce car usage, as 24% of users ride bikes to replace around five miles of car trips each week, according to a new report.  

Now national shared transport charity Collaborative Mobility UK (CoMoUK) is calling for councils to build bike sharing into their sustainable transport offering through proper funding and support.  

The organisation says a partnership between operators and local authorities could help to address financial issues, as operators in some areas face a funding gap of up to £300,000 a year.  

Costs to develop a scheme range from £0.5 million to £7.75 million, depending on fleet size and the type of bikes used, as e-bikes can be more expensive.  

Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said: ‘Bike share is now a significant part of the transport mix in towns and cities across the UK, with clear social and environmental benefits for all. They support health and wellbeing, trigger sustainable travel behaviours, cut car miles and work alongside bike ownership. 

‘It is encouraging that bike share is increasingly becoming a valuable component of a wider sustainable transport network. Our updated guidance provides local authorities with a framework for creating strong schemes with partnerships at their core. 

‘Ultimately, if we are to achieve our ambitious net zero targets, we need to address the issue of private car ownership, which massively contributes to the UK’s emissions. Shared transport such as bike share schemes, along with car clubs, demand responsive transport and e-scooters, are the key to achieving our goals.’  

CoMoUK’s report highlights how bike sharing can boost health, as 46% of respondents said it attracted them back to cycling. 

Despite this, riders’ income alone is not enough to cover the costs, with existing operators reporting shortfalls.  

Therefore, corporate membership and advertising could be used to raise revenue, while developer contribution, government funding pots and money from clean air zones could also be used to set up schemes. 

The charity also said a senior council ‘sponsor’ could help to ensure bike shares are included in transport strategies, funding proposals, built environment development and council communications.  

In terms of criminal damage, a partnership between police and councils is needed to address vandalism and avoid bike replacement so costs are kept low.  

Photo by Nick Sokolov


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