“Fix your bike” vouchers launched
The first 50,000 vouchers will be available just before midnight tonight on a first come first served basis to those who register online.
The government says that by encouraging people to get their old bikes out of the back of the shed fixed and safe to ride, the scheme will help more people choose cycling over public transport as a convenient way to travel.
Due to overwhelming demand for cycle shops’ services during the pandemic, vouchers will be released in batches in order to help manage capacity across participating stores.
The scheme is open to anyone in England who has an unused cycle in need of a repair.
The vouchers can only be used with bike repairers or mechanics that are registered for the scheme in England, and up to two vouchers can be claimed per household.
The government will work closely with the cycling industry during the pilot to monitor its success and adapt the scheme as necessary before rolling it out more widely.
Doctors to prescribe cycling
The voucher scheme launch comes the day after the government launched its obesity strategy. GPs in areas of England with poor health will be encouraged to prescribe cycling, and patients will be able to access bikes through their local surgery.
To encourage people to continue to take up cycling, cycle training will be made available for every child and adult who wants it, accessible through schools, local authorities or direct from cycle training schemes.
The ambitious plans aim to build on the significant increase in the number of people cycling during the pandemic.
So that more people can make cycling part of their commute or daily routine, more cycle racks will be installed at transport hubs, town and city centres and public buildings, and funding will go towards new bike hangars and on street storage for people who don’t have space to keep a bike at home.
The government says tackling the causes of ill health, not just the symptoms, is vital to help reduce demand on the NHS, and taking up cycling has been proven to offer huge benefits for people’s physical and mental health.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said: “From helping people get fit and healthy and lowering their risk of illness, to improving air quality and cutting congestion, cycling and walking have a huge role to play in tackling some of the biggest health and environmental challenges that we face.
“But to build a healthier, more active nation, we need the right infrastructure, training and support in place to give people the confidence to travel on two wheels.
“That’s why now is the time to shift gears and press ahead with our biggest and boldest plans yet to boost active travel – so that everyone can feel the transformative benefits of cycling.”