Power bikes made their debut in Eastbourne on Monday (7 March) when a new University of Brighton power-bike rental service for staff and students was launched.
The university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Debra Humphris (pictured), gave the new ‘e-bikes’ a trial run and declared them “excellent and great fun.”
This is one of 11 projects funded by the Department of Transport to “help tourists, residents and workers go further by bike”. This scheme cost £36,000 and has 10 Electrically Assisted Power Cycles (EAPCs) to transport staff and students to and from the railway station and the Eastbourne campus.
The aim is to investigate whether electric bikes are the answer to congestion, transport and health problems. Southern Railway and Eastbourne Borough Council are collaborating with the university’s research which will explore the uptake of electric bikes.
Associate Professor Anne Mandy said “The university's Travel Plan shows that 43 per cent of staff and 21 per cent of students travel to university as single drivers in their cars. The strategy is to reduce single occupancy vehicle transport by 10 per cent for staff and seven per cent for students by 2016. We hope this project will lead to more understanding of the role of storage solutions and innovative support services.”
Blacks Bikes bike shop at Eastbourne station car park will assist with charging and e-bike maintenance.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: “Electric bikes are a great way to encourage new people to get into cycling and I hope this interesting scheme encourages more people to take it up. Cycling helps cut congestion and is a healthy, affordable transport option.
“We want to double the number of journeys made by bicycle. That is why we are also investing over the next five years in cycle training and infrastructure.”