Make Car Free Day electric urges Cycling UK
- 67% trips under five miles are driven, with more than half for shopping and leisure
- Cycling medical professionals’ lead by pedalling to work for World Car Free Day on Friday, 22 September 2023
- Interviews and images available on request
As cycling levels in England drop to their lowest point since before the pandemic, this Car Free Day (22 September) Cycling UK is urging people to start cycling and e-cycling as a healthy, environmentally friendly and cost-saving way to make their shorter journeys.
In 2022, 67% of trips between one and five miles made in England were driven according to the National Travel Survey. More than half of those trips were for a combination of shopping and leisure. Cycling would be the ideal mode of transport for those sorts of trips, both in terms of distance and reason for the journey, especially on an e-bike.
Jenny Box, Cycling UK’s deputy director for Making cycling e-asier, said:
“E-cycles have the potential to transform how we travel short distances. They’re a game changer – they literally make cycling easier with every pedal stroke, breaking down some of the barriers to cycling to work, like hills, fitness or time!
“This Car Free Day, which is about giving people choices for other ways to travel, I’d urge everyone to give an e-bike a go, and see where it takes them. You’ll soon see how much you can save, how it can help get you fitter and cut your emissions – all while having fun.”
One Sheffield-based doctor who recently discovered the benefits of e-cycling is Dr Jaimee Wylam. Public health registrar at Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Wylam took out a one-month e-cycle loan from Cycling UK’s Making cycling e-asier scheme.
After completing the loan period, Jaimee has begun the process of buying a bike of her own.
She said: “Since falling off my bike as a child, I’ve always felt nervous cycling on busy roads. However, I recently noticed that, according to Google Maps, it was quicker for me to pedal to work than it was to get the bus.
“I decided to face my fears and sign up for a free one-hour e-bike skills and confidence session. First the team showed me how to use the e-bike, and then we did some practice in a safe space.
“I then signed up for a free one-month loan, and despite being nervous initially, I really enjoyed my first pedal home and continue to use the e-cycle to commute most days.”
Making cycling e-asier is a free e-cycle scheme run by Cycling UK. Communities in Manchester, Sheffield, Leicester and Luton and Dunstable can access free skills and confidence sessions and free one-month e-cycle loans, giving them the tools to feel safe and comfortable e-cycling regularly.
Another cycling medic, Dr Jonathan Leach OBE, a GP from Worcester also advocates electric assist to help those looking to cycle more.
In 2020, he replaced his 12-mile commute by car from Worcester to his surgery in Bromsgate with an e-bike. Last year, including home visits during the day he cycled more than 3,100 miles (5,000km).
Before purchasing his electric Brompton (a special bike designed to fold and make it easy to transport), Dr Jonathan Leach, who is in his 60s, used to spend his journeys sitting in traffic.
He commented: “Having an electric bike makes commuting to and from work a lot quicker. I’m able to bypass traffic congestion in the town centre, which is a huge bonus, especially at rush hour.
“I regularly arrive at home visits on my e-bike, and for many patients, who are very frail, very elderly and very lonely, watching me pedal into their driveway on my e-bike is the highlight of their week.”
Dr Jonathan encourages patients to follow his lead, especially if they struggle with mobility or have health issues such as osteoarthritis, as e-bikes allow people to cycle who otherwise might not be able to.
For more information on securing an e-cycle loan, visit cyclinguk.org/making-cycling-e-asier.
Notes to editors
- Cycling UK, the UK’s cycling charity, imagines a world where the streets are free of congestion and the air is clean to breathe, where parents encourage their children to cycle to school and everyone shares the exhilaration of being in the saddle. For more than 140 years, we’ve been making our streets safer, opening up new traffic free routes and inspiring more people to cycle more often. www.cyclinguk.org
- People can sign up and find more information about Making cycling e-asier via Cycling UK’s website.
- One month e-cycle loans and skills and confidence sessions are based on a first come first serve basis with limited availability. Confirmed Making cycling e-asier partners, supporting the delivery include Evans Cycles, Raleigh Bikes, Specialized, Tier Mobility, Islabikes, Wheels for All, Bikeworks, Fusion Media, Modeshift, Cyclescheme, Bike Right, Sharebike, Transport for Quality of Life. For more information, visit cyclinguk.org/making-cycling-e-asier.
- For details on car driving habits in England, see the National Travel Survey: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/national-travel-survey-2022
Press contact information
For more information, please contact the national Cycling UK press office www.cyclinguk.org/contact/press-and-media.