Bike Share Report: Scotland lagging behind

CoMoUK’s  eighth annual Bike Share Report reveals how the UK bike share sector continued to grow in 2023, with new schemes emerging in major cities such as Leeds.

The report found that by the end of September 2023, there were 48 places in the UK where a bike share scheme operated, with the whole of London counting as just one of them. This number represents an increase of five on the previous year.

For the first time last year, the number of e-bikes available for hire overtook the number of conventional ones with the 25,000 power-assisted bikes making up 59% of the total inventory.

There were nearly 25 million hires made in the year from September 2022 to September 2023,  an average of 67,565 rides per day.

The report also highlights how, outside Glasgow,  Scotland is not enjoying the same momentum as the rest of the UK, particularly with e-bikes whose numbers have dropped from 619 to 528 across the whole of the country.

While the Glasgow scheme is very healthy, with 33,527 active members and 1,189 bikes, other schemes in Dundee, Falkirk and East Lothian closed during 2023 and Aberdeen’s closed earlier this year. Smaller schemes are currently operating in Aberdeen, Stirling, Inverness and Fort William.

Last July the Scottish Government announced £1 million in support for bike share schemes, supporting a range of delivery models including loan schemes, subscription services, hire schemes, bike libraries, pool bikes and bike shares.

Richard Dilks, chief executive of CoMoUK, said: ‘Our research clearly demonstrates the hugely positive impact that bike sharing schemes have in Scotland, both for the people who use them and for society as a whole.

‘By offering easy and affordable access to cycling, such schemes improve people’s physical and mental health, cut the number of cars on the road and reduce carbon emissions.

‘Currently Glasgow dominates the bike sharing scene in Scotland, so local leaders in other cities would be wise to follow the admirable example it has set.

‘Despite the setbacks in other parts of Scotland over the past year, we look forward to more growth during 2024, opening up this accessible and flexible mode of transport to an even wider audience.’

Findings based responses from bike share scheme users to on CoMoUK’s survey include:

• 84% said using shared bikes boosted their mental health.
• 71% said they were saving money by using bike share schemes, while 85 per cent said it removed the worry of their own bike being stolen.
• 21% have a personal income of £20,000 or less, demonstrating how such schemes can make active travel accessible to all.
• 23% of users said they would have used a car for their last bike share trip if the service had not been available.
• Bike sharing is predominantly used for short to medium-range trips, with 63% estimating that their last journey was between one and three miles.

The full report can be read here

Photo: Daniel Graves



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