Government cash to get islanders on the e-bike

TWO organisations in Shetland are in line to share almost £9,000 of public funding to help buy 12 e-bikes to be shared between NHS Shetland and the community bike project.

While the health board’s six e-bikes will be used to encourage staff to use them on work related journeys within Lerwick, those going to the Shetland Bike Project will also be for hire and as such available to local people and tourists alike.

NHS Shetland health improvement practitioner Lauren Peterson said the health board wanted to lead by example and promote the idea of active travel among its staff.

“The idea is to get activity into people’s day-to-day routine,” she said.

The health board’s six e-bikes are likely to be pooled at the new cycle shelter at the hospital where they can be accessed by staff.

Caroline Adamson for the Shetland Bike Project said the e-bikes would become available for general hire, but also for family members of NHS staff, from the charity’s Esplanade based shop.

“It is a joint project between the health board and us, and it promotes healthy activities for people who are less able to cycle, and after having tried it out, people may consider buying an e-bike for themselves, and that way reduce car usage and carbon emissions,” she said.

The funding of £8,774 under Transport Scotland’s eBike Grant Fund will cover half the cost of the project.

Adamson said she is confident that the 12 e-bikes should arrive in Shetland within the next few weeks and be available for hire by the end of March.

She added that the introduction of e-bikes would also complement the bike project’s existing work as a charity that helps people living with barriers to gain employment.