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PICTURES: Inverness set to be further established as major cycling city under new HI-BIKE electric bike share scheme promoted by HiTrans and Highland Council

By Val Sweeney

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MP Drew Hendry, Councillor Trish Robertson and Hi-Trans active travel officer Vikki Trelfer at the launch. Picture: James Mackenzie.
MP Drew Hendry, Councillor Trish Robertson and Hi-Trans active travel officer Vikki Trelfer at the launch. Picture: James Mackenzie.

A new electric bike share scheme is set to further establish Inverness as a major cycling city.

HI-BIKE will see 30 bikes being made available for hire during its first phase and will comprise three docking stations at Inverness Railway Station, Inverness Campus and Great Glen House at Leachkin.

It is set to be expanded over the next 12 months with additional bikes and docking stations to provide access from more residential areas.

It is being promoted by regional transport partnership HiTrans in conjunction with Highland Council.

The scheme offers various membership options, from pay per ride to monthly or yearly membership.

Shorter membership options include 30 minutes free riding before extra time fees kick in, and monthly and yearly membership gives 45 minutes free each ride.

HiTrans chairman Allan Henderson said: "HI-BIKE gives residents and visitors more options for making shorter journeys within the city by bike, helping to reduce carbon emissions and pollution, and improving health and wellbeing."

Inverness MP Drew Hendry, who is a keen cyclist, was at the launch.

"I’m looking forward to the roll out of the scheme across Inverness, confirming its position as a major cycling city, and to other communities in the Highlands," he said.

Councillor Trish Robertson, chairwoman of the council’s economy and infrastructure committee, said the bikes would provide more options for covering more ground.

"For example a great cycle will be from the city centre, along the River Ness to the new Torvean Park which has a purpose built 5km route as well as easy access to the canal towpaths," she added.

Donald Hall, travel and transport manager at Inverness Campus described the scheme as "a significant development" for the city.

"It will help to interlink different modes of transport bringing a range of benefits to people, organisations and the environment," he said.

HI-BIKE is operated by Bewegen, a Canadian company which also runs Forth Bike, Scotland’s largest electric bike scheme linking Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire.

The first phase was made possible with funding from Transport Scotland and the EU project Stronger Combined, and support from Smarter Choices Smarter Places.

To use the service, users can buy a membership online or using the HI-BIKE mobile app.

More at www.hi-bike.co.uk

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