London’s first free shared e-Bike trial launches today

A trial is now underway of a new shared electric bike scheme in Islington, which is, according to the operator, London’s first free scheme of its kind.

The e-Bike scheme launched today with a 200 e-Bike trial, with a further thousand e-Bikes rolled out across central London in the coming months.

Facilitated by HumanForest, the scheme offers 20 free minutes of riding per day and no unlocking fee, which equates roughly to a 5km cycle per day, for free. Once the 20 free minutes are used up, the scheme charges 12p per minute of use.

Users can pause their ride and park the e-Bike for up to 23 hours, which are dockless, zero-emission and ‘powered by renewable energy’. They are GPS-tracked and can be locked and unlocked exclusively through the HumanForest App.

HumanForest Co-Founder, Caroline Seton, said: “Above all, HumanForest is about giving free and sustainable mobility to everyone. Londoners, making conscious choices, can help create a more ecologically friendly future for our city and its mission to change transport behaviour. Together we can create a greener, healthier future for London.”

Seton also identified a transformation towards a more sustainable society over recent months accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic. A recent study by Cycling UK found more than a third of people in the UK said they could ditch their cars in favour of cycling or walking after the crisis.

“Cars are responsible for 60% of all transport-related emissions,” she continued. “Yet two thirds of car trips made by Londoners could by cycled in under 19 minutes. As London embarks on one of the world’s largest car-free initiatives, there’s a huge opportunity to rethink how we move, pushing forward the transformation towards a more sustainable society.”

Cllr Rowena Champion, Islington’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, added: “HumanForest’s sustainable e-Bikes will help encourage people of all ages and abilities to take up cycling as an alternative to using motor vehicles – boosting their own personal fitness whilst contributing towards a cleaner, more environmentally-friendly borough.

“The council is working hard to create people-friendly streets, where it is easier and safer to walk and cycle, and where streets are better and more pleasant for all. Welcoming HumanForest’s sustainable e-Bikes is another step towards achieving this goal, and we look forward to seeing local people benefit from them.”

Hayley Everett

Multimedia Reporter

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