‘Try before you buy’ e-bike scheme – government could subsidise holiday rentals in bid to drive sales

Government has said it will put together an e-bike support package

The government could fund ‘opportunity to try’ e-bike schemes in key UK holiday destinations in the belief that experiences may encourage people to invest in a bike of their own. For much the same reason, it is also being mooted that local authorities may be given funding to loan e-bikes to residents at low cost.

The government announced that it would put together an e-bike support package in July last year and subsequently proposed subsiding purchases from this spring. 

We’re still waiting for details of that with an announcement relating to the package as a whole supposedly due this month.

Cycling minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, told the Guardian: “E-cycles could be hugely important to our goal of bringing non-traditional groups to cycling including older and disabled people.

“We are establishing a national e-bike support programme, which could include loans, ‘opportunity to try’ schemes, subsidies, or other financial incentives, using the learning from other schemes in the UK and abroad‘Opportunity to try’ schemes are credited with having driven e-bike sales in Switzerland. The UK government believes they could be run at holiday and day trip destinations as well as at certain events.

In 2013, Isobel Stoddart jointly organised something similar with the Bicycle Association with assistance from a government grant. She described the schemes as having been, “transformative – everybody came away with a smile on their face, regardless of whether they were novices, or lapsed cyclists.”

The government will reportedly seek a delivery partner “to purchase all the bikes and run all the events” with a view to establishing various schemes in the summer and autumn.