Five new Forth Bike stations opened in Falkirk on Monday 1 March, doubling the number of electric bike hire points across the area thanks to funding from SP Energy Networks’ Green Economy Fund, Energy Saving Trust and Falkirk Council.
The new locations are:
• Falkirk Community Hospital
• Zetland Park, Grangemouth
• Callander Park, Falkirk
• Duke Street, Denny
• Union Street, Bo'ness
Locals will now be able to hire an electric bike at 10 locations, with stations already available at The Helix (Kelpies), Falkirk Wheel, Falkirk High Street, Forth Valley Royal Hospital and Stenhousemuir town centre.
A further six Forth Bike stations are also available in Stirling and Clackmannanshire, giving Falkirk residents easy commuting or leisure access to the rest of Forth Valley by e-bike.
The Falkirk area is already leading the way in e-bike use in Forth Valley; accounting for 10,244 of the 14,299 Forth Bike journeys made last year.
Shirley Paterson from environmental charity Forth Environment Link, which manages the 144-electric bike scheme, said: “We have already seen unprecedented use of Forth Bike within Falkirk during 2020, with people finding the e-bikes a great way to explore their local neighbourhoods, keep their spirits up and stay fit. By doubling the number of charging stations people will hopefully find it even easier to use the bikes for commuting and as restrictions ease, to stay connected with family and friends.”
Falkirk’s Forth Bike users clocked up an impressive 50,000 miles in 2020.
Councillor Paul Garner, Falkirk council spokesperson for the environment said: “Providing an additional 5 new electric bike stations, is such a great addition to the area.
“It’ll connect communities, increase access to our tourism attractions and town centres, create active travel opportunities that improve people’s health and wellbeing and let people visit areas they might not have thought of cycling to.
“I’m sure it will be well received, especially within my own ward with one being situated in Denny town centre.
“I’d like to thank all involved in bringing this project forward especially all those at Forth Environment Link’s Active Travel Hub.”
The expansion of the Forth Bike scheme is funded by Scottish Power Energy Network’s Green Economy Fund, The Energy Saving Trust and Falkirk Council.
Frank Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of SP Energy Networks, said: “We’re proud to fund Forth Environment Link’s expansion of the electric bike network in Falkirk and help double the number of electric bike hire points in the area. SP Energy Networks is completely committed to working with the local community to create a cleaner, greener, healthier Scotland. That’s why projects like this are at the heart of our Green Economy Fund, which helps communities build their own green economy and establish low carbon infrastructure to support our net zero carbon future.”
NHS Forth Valley also praised Forth Bike’s positive impact on the region’s health.
Health Promotion Officer, Aileen Schofield said: “The scheme has proved extremely popular since being launched at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in 2019, so the arrival of additional bikes at Falkirk Community Hospital is warmly welcomed. The electric bikes are not only a greener option for commuting, they’re also a great way to boost your mental and physical health. Many staff members have relied on Forth Bike during the pandemic to get them to and from work. Adding more Forth Bike stations offers them and others across Forth Valley greater choice and flexibility, whilst helping save the planet.”
87 local key workers have taken advantage of free Forth Bike membership, with 13 more free memberships still available. Forth Bike also has a half price launch offer for new members. An annual subscription will cost just £32, instead of £65 from 1-5 March. For further information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.forthbike.co.uk