Accessible cycle loan scheme arrives in London

Photo of a significant urban street. Traffic is stopped at traffic lights. In the foreground a disabled cyclist. She is riding a trike on a segregated cycle lane. Behind her, a car, and behind that two brightly coloured buses and a black cab queueing at the lights. In the background buildings, sky and trees and another car

On May 10th Wheels4MeLondon was launched: a collaboration between Sustrans, Wheels for Wellbeing and Peddle My Wheels and funded by the Motability Foundation, it will provide free cycle loans for disabled people.

Sustrans’ latest Walking and Cycling Index, the largest independent survey of active travel in the UK, found that 27% of disabled people do not cycle but would like to. Further to that, 25% of all people surveyed said access to a non-standard cycle like a tricycle or a handcycle would help them to cycle more.

By increasing access and training for non-standard cycles across London, the charity is working towards creating fully inclusive cycle hire. Through this project, more people will be able to take advantage of the wellbeing and physical health benefits of cycling.

The Wheels4MeLondon scheme will offer free, month long, accessible cycle loans for people across London. The types of cycle available include upright trikes and semi-recumbent trikes, with the fleet to be expanded to other models in the future. As well as this, the scheme includes free delivery, a training session, insurance against theft or damage, and collection when finished. The included cycle training is tailored to meet each individual’s specific needs, increasing travel safety and confidence when travelling in the capital.

To ensure that participants receive the right services and cycles, Wheels for Wellbeing will provide consultation sessions to provide essential support and guidance.

Lack of access to a suitable mobility aid can reduce or remove the ability to travel safely and independently for many. Sustrans’ Disabled Citizens’ Inquiry found that 86% of disabled people across the UK would find it useful for them to walk or wheel more if everyone who requires a mobility aid had financial support and advice to access one to meet their needs.

To find out more about Wheels4MeLondon, visit them at Ride London 2024 on Sunday 26 May.

Will Norman, London Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “I welcome the launch of the Wheels4MeLondon inclusive cycle loan scheme and look forward to seeing many more people given the opportunity to experience the benefits and joys of cycling in the capital. Offering practical cycling options for disabled people, through non-standard cycle loans and supported training, is key to ensuring that cycling is accessible to everyone.

“I hope that through this exciting initiative more people will feel confident to try cycling and acquire the skills to help make active travel a part of their everyday lives in our city.”

Isabelle Clement MBE, Director of Wheels for Wellbeing, said:The cost of non-standard cycles remains prohibitive for most disabled people whilst options to borrow or hire such cycles are extremely rare. Wheels for Wellbeing fights against all barriers to cycling. Therefore, we are thrilled to see this accessible cycle loan scheme get off the ground with the financial support of the Motability Foundation and through a unique partnership with Peddle My Wheels and Sustrans.

“Disabled Londoners and visitors to the capital will have access to impartial support and advice about what cycling options are available, as well as the offer of a month-long accessible cycle loan, giving them a realistic opportunity to try out making cycling a part of their lives.

“We will gather the experiences of Wheels4MeLondon participants in order to shape and influence the long-term development of inclusive cycle-share in London and beyond.”

Alper Muduroglu, Chief Executive Officer, Peddle my Wheels, said: “Peddle My Wheels is thrilled to bring accessible cycling to more Londoners through this vital Motability Foundation-funded initiative. Creating a comprehensive adaptive cycle loan scheme in London has been a long-held ambition.

“Collaborating with two great organisations in Sustrans and Wheels for Wellbeing means this vision is finally becoming a reality.”

Alison Litherland, Head of Behaviour Change and Engagement, London, Sustrans: “Everyone should have the right to walk or wheel around their neighbourhoods with ease, independence and confidence.

“We are proud to be working with Wheels for Wellbeing and Peddle My Wheels on the Wheels4MeLondon project as these organisations are experts in increasing opportunities to access cycling in London. Our 2.5-year project, funded by the Motability Foundation, will increase cycling capacity for disabled people and will provide long-term motivation for changing travel behaviours.

“Increasing access to non-standard cycles and tailored training across London will show that accessible cycle loan schemes are possible, practical, and much needed. We are excited to raise awareness around what is possible and inform best practice on how cycle hire can be fully inclusive.”

Lisa Jones, Director of Charitable Operations at the Motability Foundation, said: “We’re delighted to award Sustrans, in partnership with Wheels for Wellbeing and Peddle My Wheels with this grant to launch Wheels4MeLondon, a non-standard cycle loan scheme for disabled people in London.

“The project will give disabled people in London greater access to travel and offer the opportunity to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that active travel can provide.

“Awarding grants to established and local organisations like these helps us to make an immediate difference to the transport needs of disabled people.”

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