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e-Bikes Go Up a Gear in UK

Government set to introduce subsidies for electric bikes as part of its objective to keep people out of their cars and, if they choose, off public transport.

The UK government will subsidise electric bikes as part of a plan to double the number of bike journeys made in the country by 2025. According to The Times, the scheme could reduce the cost of an electric bike by a third to offer commuters a “sweat-free” alternative to conventional bicycles.

Boris Johnson said this week that plans to crisscross the UK with cycle lanes would continue, despite opposition from motorists. However, there was no new money for cycling beyond the £2bn pledged in May.

Ministers will launch a taxpayer-backed scheme to boost the number of people using battery-assisted bikes, appealing directly to commuters riding in business outfits and those who are older or less fit. Trials of the programme will begin in the next five months before details of a full-scale support package are unveiled in spring next year.

Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, called on the PM to move up another gear. “The government must ensure that changes to the planning system deliver fewer developments where residents are dependent on their car for short trips,” said Rachel White, head of public affairs.

Millions of Europeans now commute by e-bike, a mobility revolution carefully cultivated by governments and employers. Now the UK is likely to follow the same route. If the switch to e-bikes from cars continues at this pace it will be very good news for the environment and help enable countries to hit their climate emission reduction targets.

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