A new program will offer interest-free loans of up to Â£ 500 to help Scots share the cost of buying an adult bike.
Cycling UK is working with Capital Credit Union and Scotwest Credit Union to offer 500 loans through the Access Bikes program, which aims to bring mobility and freedom to people with limited transport options.
The loans have no upfront payments and will be repaid in manageable installments. Funded by the Scottish Government, the scheme is aimed at low-income people who want to cycle but may find it difficult to pay the full cost of a bike all at once.
While 62% of Scottish households with an annual net income of over Â£ 50,000 have access to one or more bicycles, this figure drops to less than 20% for households with an income of Â£ 15,000 and under.
Suzanne Forup, Cycling UK Development Manager for Scotland, said: âWe believe this innovative program can make a big difference for people who want to cycle but do not have access to a bicycle. Many people in Scotland find it difficult to access essential services or to work because they face a lack of affordable transport options.
âWe know that this exclusion can be tackled by having access to a bicycle, but paying for one in advance is often not an option. Access Bikes will provide interest-free loans so people can buy a bike and experience the freedom, convenience and fun of cycling. For those who need a little extra help, Cycling UK will also be there for you with tailor-made support, from one-on-one cycling sessions to advice on finding the perfect bike.
The loans can be used to purchase new and used adult bikes, as well as accessories such as helmets and locks. Participants can also access personalized assistance from Cycling UK, including help choosing the right bike, cycling or confidence-building training sessions, and assistance accessing local cycling groups.
Launched on the first day of Scottish Climate Week, the pilot program is open to any adult eligible to become a member of Capital or Scotwest credit unions. These are people residing or working in the geographical area covered by the two funds which bring together 21 local communities, people working for one of the 186 employer partners of the funds, holders of the Young Scot Card aged 18 and over. plus and Community Trade Syndicate members.
Active Travel Minister Patrick Harvie said: âI am delighted that the Scottish Government is investing more than Â£ 390,000 to provide affordable access to bikes, in addition to specialist support from Cycling UK. This builds on the interest-free loan assistance we already offer for e-bikes, and for the first time, with the support of participating credit unions, we are exploring a new path to tackle transportation poverty for children. low income people.
âPromoting cycling is something the government must do to respond to the climate emergency. To make cycling easier, infrastructure is essential, but so too is affordable access to bicycles – and I look forward to the success of the Access Bikes initiative.
‘We need to see more innovations like this, and by increasing the budget for active travel to at least Â£ 320million by the end of this Parliament, we will be supporting more projects to turn Scotland into an active nation, where we walk, wheelie and cycle are the natural choice for shorter commutes by 2030. â