The scheme, which usually gives North Somerset residents the opportunity to loan a bike for up to four weeks with a £50 deposit, has temporarily been adapted to prioritise key workers who can now borrow a bike for up to three months at no charge.
This longer loan period will help key workers improve their health and observe social distancing while making their essential journeys.
When a similar scheme was launched earlier this year, the council’s loan bike fleet was snapped up immediately and there were 40 people on a waiting list. A further 18 bikes from another project were diverted to assist staff at Weston General Hospital where they remain in regular use on short-term loans.
Dafne Pedroni, active travel champion at Weston Hospital said, “It’s been inspiring to run the loan bike scheme and staff are enjoying the benefits.”
Cllr James Tonkin, North Somerset Council's Executive Member for Transport added: “Our key workers are working hard to provide our essential services. We are pleased to be able to offer them free bike loans to help make their journeys to work easier and safer. This would not have been so easy to do if the fantastic Borrow a Bike scheme was not already in place.”
The Borrow a Bike scheme is run by the Council’s local partner, The Bicycle Chain, in Weston-super-Mare. The store remains open as per current government guidelines, stocking a range of hybrid, folding and electric bikes plus bicycle clothing, helmets, locks, lights and safety equipment.
The Borrow a Bike scheme is funded by North Somerset Council through the Department for Transport’s Access Fund. It was originally designed to help people get back into cycling with the associated health and environmental benefits.
Key workers interested in taking up the extended Borrow a Bike loan offer should apply on the Better by Bike website, selecting North Somerset as the relevant council. All bikes are then collected from Weston’s Bicycle Chain at 1A Aisecombe Way, Weston-super-Mare.
The online application form asks who your employer is and if you are a key worker. To qualify for an extended bike loan with no deposit, applicants will need to provide proof of their key worker employment status when collecting the bike (such as a payslip or letter from an employer on headed paper), or the standard four-week loan period (with a £50 deposit) will be offered.
For further information, contact North Somerset Council’s Sustainable Travel and Road Safety Team via email on email@example.com or by calling 01275 884 605.