AS the UK prepares itself for life after lockdown, a new eBike initiative has launched in a bid to offer a safe and environmentally friendly mode of transport for North-East workers.

Following consultation and providing support to the NHS and area police forces during lockdown, the North-East based Ride Electric is bringing a flexible, cost-effective long-term eBike leasing option to businesses throughout the region, and will look to actively address the critical commuting issue the UK now faces.

Ride Electric will now also expand its operations into Northern Ireland as part of its ambitious growth plan.

With some people starting to tentatively return to work, but with physical distancing reducing capacity on public transport, the idea of bikes for everyday transport is now an attractive option for employees and business.

Ride Electric’s new service follows a study released by the publicly funded Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (Creds), which highlighted the fact that Electric bikes can greatly reduce transport emissions and offer workers a way to return to the workplace during coronavirus.

Ride Electric’s business development Manager, Sue Anderson, said: “eBikes have revolutionised the way people travel in Europe and the time is now to fully embrace this technology in the UK.

“We are all aware of the focus on bikes and walking as the solution to assist business staff in getting to work safely during the crisis.

“We believe that this will result in the reallocation of road space for shared use for cars, pedestrians, and of course, bikes. This could remove the historic resistance to cycle use, using a road infrastructure biased toward cars.

“eBikes allow employees to travel longer distances in shorter times, to arrive at work feeling motivated and energised. eBikes will not only enable businesses to open up but will improve the health of employees, improve the environment, and allow our industries to thrive.”

The eBikes provided as part of Ride Electric’s new service come equipped with the company’s innovative eRideTrak technology.

A pre-configured GPS Tracker can pinpoint the bike’s location and route tracking history and also provides journey statistics for carbon reduction and staff wellbeing.

During lockdown, Ride Electric has been trialling its technology with various organisations as part of its on-going strategy to eventually provide its leasing service to partners and businesses throughout the United Kingdom.

Speaking about the use of eBikes, Dr. Julie Hall, Consultant Diagnostic & Spinal Interventional Neuroradiologist, from Newcastle City Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As part of the country’s response to COVID-19, people have been discouraged from using public transport and services have been greatly reduced. This meant that key workers at Newcastle Hospitals were looking for alternative, safe and easy modes of transport to and from work.

“eBikes are a very efficient form of transport. They are also clean and sustainable with zero emissions. This is important for Newcastle Hospitals as we have committed to becoming a net zero carbon organisation and to improving air quality around our sites.

“As cycling infrastructure continues to improve in our towns and cities, and cycle routes become safer and better publicised, e-bikes will become a more popular choice for staff both for commuting and personal use.

“As Newcastle Hospitals has declared a climate emergency, we foresee a time when eBikes will be available and the preferred choice for staff travelling between hospital sites. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to support modal shift and it would be a positive action on our journey of recovery from Covid-19.”

Neighbourhood Inspector Mark Storey, from Northumbria Police, added: “We are

extremely grateful to Ride Electric for their kind donation of the electric bikes.

“They have proven to be a vital asset to our policing resources and have enabled our officers to cover a larger patrol area as well as helping the environment and promoting fitness.

“The bikes have also been crucial during our Covid-19 response as they have helped us maintain social distancing and given us alternate forms of patrolling to access and support the communities we serve.”