Kirklees Council is encouraging residents to consider alternative, environmentally friendly modes of transportation this September.
Free sessions to test ride electronic scooters and bikes are being offered to residents for four weeks from September 1. The vehicles will be available to rent at the Travel rEvolution hub in St George’s Square, Huddersfield.
As e-scooters and bikes are currently prohibited on roads and pavements across the UK, Kirklees Council wants to test the use of the vehicles in a controlled area in St George’s Square so people can trial the transport modes safely and receive expert advice about how to use e-bikes and scooters.
A national pilot with the Department for Transport will test the use of e-scooters and bikes before they can be rolled out nationally, but Kirklees council want to test them in a cordoned-off area before the national pilot goes ahead.
Manchester-based company Scootfit will be running the trial sessions, ensuring social distancing is followed and clean down any equipment before and after use.
If the trial is successful in Huddersfield, it could be extended to Dewsbury town centre in the future
The use of e-bikes and scooters offer people an alternative to people who may be cautious about using public transport due to social distancing measures that are still in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and also offer an environmentally friendly form of transport.
Senior Labour councillor for Kirklees, Peter McBride, said: “During the coronavirus pandemic, there has been an increased interest in cycling. Many bike shops are reporting high demand for bikes, which people are keen to use both for a fun exercise, but also as a practical alternative to driving or public transport.
“Kirklees is certainly hilly, so electric bikes or scooters, which give you some extra power behind your pedals, can make active travel a more practical choice for many people.
“Because this technology is not yet widespread, we are using a Government grant to make e-scooters and bikes available for Kirklees residents to try out.
“Fewer people in cars is good for everyone – active travel has many health and wellbeing benefits, and it brings down pollution, which improves air quality and helps fight the climate emergency.
“Many people have said how noticeable the improvement has been from reduced traffic during the pandemic. We would like to try to maintain this as much as possible in the future, as part of our area’s recovery.
“Our Huddersfield and Dewsbury Blueprint regeneration plans have green and active travel as a core focus, and we are committed to being a net-zero carbon emissions borough by 2038.”
Further information on the Travel rEvolution and bookings for the trial sessions can be found here: https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/food-exercise-and-sport/cycling.aspx