The UK Government has provided more details on a bike voucher system to help increase the number of two-wheeled journeys in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Up to half a million £50 vouchers will be provided from June to help people get their bicycles repaired in a move the Government hopes will also improve the public’s fitness and reduce air pollution.
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Bike repair businesses can now register to take part in the scheme if they meet the eligibility requirements (including holding £2 million public liability insurance), while the public are not yet able to apply for the vouchers.
According to the government, members of the public will be able to apply for the vouchers in the coming weeks.
When the system is up and running bike owners will be able to find a participating bike shop via the Energy Saving Trust website and can then apply for a voucher.
You can then take your bike in to be fixed, using the voucher towards the cost. You can then claim the cost of the discount (up to £50 per bike) back through the Energy Saving Trust website. The trust will refund the bike owner on behalf of the government on a weekly basis.
This scheme was previously announced alongside a host of fast-tracked policies including pop-up bike lanes and statutory guidance to councils to improve cycling facilities, with the Government hoping that more people will cycle as public transport capacity will be limited due to social distancing measures.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said during the daily coronavirus briefing that public transport will see at best a fifth of its usual travellers in the immediate aftermath of lockdown easing and a gradual return to normality.
“Previously, we announced the introduction of a scheme to bring bicycles back into a roadworthy condition, relieving the pressure on public transport and improving the nation’s health,” Shapps said.
“Today, I can provide the detail of the new £50 bicycle maintenance voucher. Available from next month, the scheme will help up to half a million people drag bikes out of retirement, speed up the cycling revolution and help individuals become fitter and healthier and reducing air pollution, which remains a hidden killer.”
Update 05/06: The Department for Transport told Cycling Weekly they aim to open the bike repair scheme at the end of June.
“We have announced £225million emergency funding for Local Authorities to build cycle and walking infrastructure. The remaining £25million will go towards bike repairs to enable more people to cycle.
“We are aiming to open the bike repair scheme for applications by the end of June – we will be registering shops/mechanics to participate in advance of this.”
Update 22/06: The government has now released new details on how the scheme will work and opened registrations for bike repair businesses that want to take part.
Bike shops must be in possession of a valid public liability insurance with a minimum cover of £2million to be eligible, with a full list of terms and conditions available when registering.
Repairers can apply to be part of the scheme on the Energy Saving Trust website here.
Members of the public will be able to apply for the vouchers “in the coming weeks,” the government said.
The bike owner will find a registered bike mechanic to fix their bike. A map of eligible shops and mechanics will be available on the Energy Saving Trust website when the scheme launches to the public. The bike owner will then apply for a voucher, then when they take their bike in to be fixed they will use the voucher towards the cost.
You can then claim the cost of the discount (up to £50 per bike) back through the Energy Saving Trust website.
The Energy Saving Trust will refund you on behalf of the government on a weekly basis.