The Scottish Government has announced the first six pilot projects selected to offer free bikes for school-age children who cannot afford one.
As part of a series of commitments delivered by the Scottish Government within its first 100 days, the new pilots will test their approaches across the next 12 months and will be fully evaluated. They will test delivery models in urban and rural locations, across primary and secondary schools ages and trial various procurement models.
The pilots seek to include local bike shops and will explore opportunities to maximise benefits for the local supply chain, including recycling bikes and encouraging a circular economy approach.
The pilots will test a variety of ownership, loan and subscription models and undertake various methods of assessing the need to ensure inclusion and accessibility. Pilots are linked to existing community networks across schools, charities, cycling clubs and active travel hubs, all helping to determine what the best models of local delivery could look like. Further pilots will be announced in the coming months.
Transport Minister Graeme Dey said: “I’m blown away by how community groups, active travel and cycling partners have responded to our 100 day commitment. With support and funding from the Scottish Government, I’m pleased they will shortly offer free bike pilots to school aged children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.
“We’ve still got a lot of ground to cover when thinking about how best we can assess need, build in accessibility for all and ensure supply and delivery models which are sustainable for urban, rural and island communities across Scotland.
“That said, when we look at pilot projects already mobilised, it’s clear that the strength of ambition on display is immediately apparent. We’ll be looking at the evaluation very closely to see what’s working most effectively and inclusively to support future schemes.
“The benefits of providing greater access to bikes for children are obvious. It ensures equality of opportunity in building life skills, confidence, independence and embeds healthy and sustainable travel habits from a young age. Ensuring that more children can choose active travel including cycling is vital to help meet our world-leading net-zero targets.
“The Equality Cycles project between St Paul’s Youth Forum and the Rosemount Development Trust is a fantastic example of community collaboration to get more children on bikes using local networks. I look forward to seeing the success of this project and the other pilots, as we refine blueprints for effective local delivery and get more bikes to children who cannot afford them.”
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