£2.86m e-bike hire service to hit the road this year

New e-bikes coming to Leeds have been revealed, following the final green light for the public e-bike hire service to launch this autumn.

Leeds City Bikes will be the first fully electric public bike hire service in the UK, enabling more people to cycle short journeys.

The £2.86m scheme will see e-bikes for hire at docking stations in the centre, and along key routes to the south and north-west of the city, before expanding to other areas.

It will be designed, developed, and delivered by British e-bike hire operator Beryl, in partnership with Leeds City Council, and has been made possible thanks to funding secured through the West Yorkshire Mayoral devolution deal.

The scheme was given final approval at the end of May, when members of the Combined Authority’s Transport Committee approved the funding in full.

Councillor Helen Hayden, executive member for infrastructure and climate, said: “We want Leeds to be a city where you don’t need to own a car and a key part of that is expanding and supporting our cycling network.

“Cycling is a great way to travel for short journeys, as well as long, and this proposal will make it easier for people to make that change.

“We know that compared to conventional push bikes, e-bikes are an easier access point for new users including older people, women, people with limited physical strength, people who have limited cycling confidence or experience and people who are looking to take up cycling.

“I hope that Leeds City Bikes will encourage more people to try cycling without the investment of buying their own bike.”

Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, said: “Bringing an e-bike hire scheme to our region was ​one of my Mayoral​​ pledges and I’m excited we’re using bikes named after Leeds’ cycling legend Beryl Burton.

“We want to grow our economy, connect people with opportunities and tackle the climate emergency.

“A reliable, inclusive transport network, which puts walking and cycling at the heart of our everyday journeys, is key to this.”

​​Philip Ellis, CEO of Beryl, said: “We have a proven track record of working in partnership with cities and in consultation with communities and key stakeholders to deliver successful services that play a crucial role in integrated urban transport systems.

“Our vehicles are not only good for the environment, they’re also fun, easy to use and cost-effective, removing the need for vehicle ownership expenses such as fuel, tax, MOT, storage, parking and maintenance.”

Initially an estimated 300 e-bikes will be available from docking stations at key locations. The service will also incorporate tricycles and e-cargo bikes.

It is part of the Connecting Leeds Transport Strategy to make Leeds a city where people don’t need a car.