Forth Valley’s e-bike scheme is powering ahead thanks to the appointment of Bewegen.

The Canadian firm will help Forth Environment Link deliver the UK’s first cross regional partnership electric bike share project, supported by Transport Scotland, NHS Forth Valley, Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council and Falkirk Council.

The first phase of the £350,000 project will see 100 fully electric bikes made available across key locations in Clackmannanshire, Falkirk and Stirling by May 2019.

Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said: “Electric bicycles have a central role to play in encouraging active travel as they are great for all types of people making every day journeys and are cheap to run and fantastic for the environment, particularly when compared with petrol and diesel cars.

“Having these e-bikes on hire at a range of locations can not only generate active travel journeys in the short term but convince people of the long-term benefits of travelling by bike on a regular basis.

“This is the latest in a series of announcements connected with the Active Travel budget being doubled to £80 million by the Scottish Government.”

The introduction of Pedelec electric bikes across Stirling, Falkirk and Alloa, will see Forth Environment Link’s bike share fleet increase by over 60 percent. The charity already has 160 pedal bicycles to hire through its Nextbike scheme.

The charity’s Executive Director, Clara Walker said: “Our ambition is to provide access to more affordable, healthy transport options for people of all ages and abilities and this new all electric bike scheme will help us achieve this. Since we introduced bike sharing to Stirling three and a half years ago, the number of journeys made by rental bike in Stirling has tripled. Last year alone there were almost 40,000 sustainable journeys made using the scheme cementing its position as a key public transport option in the city. We believe e-bikes will help encourage even more people to get back in the saddle, offering a real alternative to the daily commute with top speeds of 15.5 mph.”

The project is Bewegen’s first large-scale project in the UK, having implemented over 20 e-bike schemes across the USA, Canada and Europe.

Bewegen CEO Alain Ayotte said: “Bewegen is proud to be a part of the launch of the UK’s first cross-regional electric bike scheme. Data from our systems launched around the world have shown that our e-bikes offer a transportation alternative that is more attractive to a diverse range of users, which contributes to a larger mode shift towards cycling. We believe that the Forth Valley Scheme will be very successful, with a strong potential for growth throughout the region. Bewegen is committed to strengthening the Forth Valley region by establishing a local operations team, thereby creating jobs and contributing to the local economy. Overall, we are grateful for this opportunity and excited to get this project rolling!”

The first e-bike stations are expected to be ready by Autumn 2018, with a number of mobile stations as well as a route connecting Larbert Train station and Forth Valley Royal Hospital.