Forth Valley sees 230 per cent increase in electric bike usage

The popularity of electric bicycles has soared in Forth Valley, new figures show.

Demand for the Forth Bike scheme has shot up since the coronavirus pandemic hit, with e-bike usage in the region increasing by more than 230 per cent between 2019 and 2020.

While Covid has brought serious hardships, it has driven more people to explore their local area.

The top five Forth Bike stations for usage between 2019 and 2020 were: The Helix, 8745 rides; Falkirk High Street, 2055 rides; The Falkirk Wheel, 1803 rides; Stenhousemuir, 1710 rides; and Forth Valley Royal Hospital, 1109 rides.

Scotland’s largest e-bike scheme was launched by Forth Environment Link at Forth Valley Royal Hospital in 2019. Picture: Michael Gillen.

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    Forth Bike is the first scheme of its type to connect three local authority areas: Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire.

    The programme is run by Forth Environment Link (FEL), an environmental charity working to tackle climate change at a local level.

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    Its work focuses on three main themes: active and sustainable travel, local food and growing and reuse and repair.

    FEL worked with local communities, landowners and fundraisers to develop the project in a way that meets multiple priorities while still retaining the fundamental principles behind operating a public bike share scheme.

    Clara Walker, FEL executive director, said: “With the Forth Bike scheme, the main thing that has changed is the number of people using the scheme and the very nature of cycling within and between communities is that people get to see their surrounding area in a different way and are encouraged to spend time exploring and, hopefully, spending money locally.”

    Neil Christison, VisitScotland regional director, said: “Schemes like Forth Bike show how tourism is a force for good and if managed responsibly, sustains communities in every corner of Scotland, creates jobs and improves the well-being of everyone who experiences it.”

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