E-bikes for hire venture expands just weeks after taking to the road in Peterborough

A new venture to bring a cycle revolution to Peterborough has been expanded just weeks after its launch.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 5:00 am
E-bikes at Oundle Road near the Gordon Arms. EMN-210503-170924009

The number of e-bikes for hire around the city has been increased in response to the demand for eco-friendly service, which seeks to reduce the number of car journeys around the city.

Bosses at e-bike operators Voi Technology have just added another 17 e-bikes to the 20 placed around the city at its launch just six weeks ago.

To date, there have about 500 rides taken with the Voi e-bikes in Peterborough travelling a total of 1,056 miles.

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A spokesman for Voi said: “Peterborough residents have received the scheme well.

“We started with a small fleet of 20 e-bikes which has now been increased to 37.

“So far, it is a good start considering the small number of vehicles available and the current Covid restrictions in place.

“Moving forwards, Voi will continue to work closely with the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority to make the necessary adjustments to the scheme to meet demand.”

The hire scheme will run on a trial basis for 12 months with the aim of supporting a green restart of the economy and easing the burden on public transport during the current pandemic and beyond.

The spokesman said: “The aim of the pilot project, which is supported by both the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority and the Department of Transport, to encourage a shift away from cars for short journeys to help limit traffic gridlock and CO2 emissions.”

The e-bikes, which under UK regulations cut their power assistance when a rider stops pedalling or the speed reaches 15.5 mph, have been sited at various locations across the city.

The bikes are available to hire for anyone aged 18 and above. However, Voi is offering NHS and emergency service workers free access to its e-bikes during the lockdown. To be eligible, users must upload their NHS identity, Blue Light Card or Defence Discount Service to the Voi app or website.

To use one of the bikes, first download the Voi app. It then costs £1 to unlock the e-bike and 15 pence per minute of usage. Day and month-long subscriptions are available.

The e-bikes are available to rent around the clock and can travel up to 31 miles without requiring a charge.

The cycles have swappable batteries, which the Voi team changes overnight to ensure that the fleet is always powered up.

Voi e-bikes are also geofenced to ensure no ride, slow ride and no parking zones are observed. However, while the motor will slow down or switch off by geofencing, it is still possible for the user to pedal the e-bike.

There are mandatory parking areas, which are marked in blue in the Voi app map, which means that users need to finish the ride in the marked area.

Users will not be able to end the ride unless they park in the pre-defined area.

The spokesperson said: “It’s against the rules to drive outside the mandatory riding areas, clearly signed on the map visible in the Voi app.

“Voi works closely with the local police and employes a variety of measures to identify misuse, and users can get their accounts blocked if they do not comply with the usage guidelines.”

The traffic rules that apply to bicycles and e-scooters also apply to e-bikes.

For the launch of the new e-bikes, Voi worked with the VIAS research institute and developed eight points for safe riding, which are based on the UK traffic rules, signs, signals, and general safety precautions.

They are:

Use dedicated cycling infrastructure

Watch out for pedestrians

Signal to other road users

Ride on the left side of the road or cycle lane

Obey all traffic signs and traffic light signals

Do not drink and ride

Pay attention and adapt your riding to your surroundings

Keep your distance and stay alert