Beryl has launched its campaign to lower the barrier to cycling with its local council partners in Bournemouth, Poole, Hereford, Norwich, Watford and London.
Throughout the summer months, tens of thousands of riding minutes will be accessible at free or heavily discounted prices to encourage more journeys by bicycle and incentivise those who haven’t tried cycling.
Beryl’s #BetterByBike campaign aims to build on the current momentum supporting cycling and its pivotal role in creating healthy and safe streets by encouraging behaviour change towards active travel. Within a year of Beryl’s bike share launch across the UK, over 200,000 rides have been completed and riders are rapidly closing in on reaching one million kilometres cycled collectively.
The campaign will launch a number of localised promotions in the near future, aiming to offer residents within their service areas a chance to move in a more socially distant, sustainable and active way, either at a fraction of their 5p per minute price or totally free.
Herefordshire Council will lead the way, starting with a further extension of the free key worker access for NHS, school, Police and Civil Service staff. A wider public promotion will launch as the lockdown lifts, more Beryl Bays are rolled out and Herefordians begin to get back to their post-lockdown routines.
In Norwich, Beryl has partnered with the Norfolk County Council who through its Pushing Ahead programme will offer thousands of free minutes to riders in the city. The promotion will run as highstreets reopen, enabling a socially distant and environmentally friendly return for the public.
Beryl and the Pushing Ahead programme hope that the collaborative promotion will aid the local recovery as evidence shows cyclists visit shops more frequently than people in private cars. If 1,000 people took to Beryl Bikes in Norwich each using a 200-minute bundle, this would provide an economic boost of around £31,000 to the local economy and a carbon saving of 2.2 tonnes, according to a health economic assessment tool.
In Bournemouth, the NHS free rides access has been extended through to the end of June. In a recent letter to councillor Hadley regarding the recent Government’s announcement of £250 million in funding for investment in emergency active travel measures, COO of Bournemouth university Jim Andrews wrote: “The university is working with Beryl Bikes to promote the local bike share scheme to students and staff. Work is in progress to create a formal agreement with Beryl Bikes to promote their offer to support active travel to and between campus sites.”
Beryl CEO Philip Ellis said: “We are thrilled at the high level of support and enthusiasm shown by our local partners to help lower the barrier to cycling for many. 68% of car journeys in the UK are under five miles. A quarter are under one mile. Cycling isn’t the option for all trips – but by making the switch for short journeys, people can free up valuable space on public transport, reduce congestion on our roads and make the streets safer.”
Beryl’s initiative to give NHS and key workers free rides from the start of the COVID-19 lockdown has already enabled over 6,000 free trips for NHS staff with over a thousand more key workers accessing vouchers to ride free. Beryl hopes to continue this initiative widely, with the support of national organisations and local partners.