Norwich’s free ride initiative extended to keep city moving during lockdown

Norfolk County Council and Norwich’s micromobility provider Beryl have extended their free ride initiative to keep the city moving during the approaching lockdown.

Starting from yesterday, 2nd November, Norfolk County Council and Beryl are offering 30 minutes free riding on the pedal bikes and 15 minutes on the e-bikes between 7:30am-9:30am and 3:00pm-4:30pm.

The extension of this initiative will allow essential workers to continue travelling in a safe and sustainable way, whilst also offering Norwich’s wider community a convenient and enjoyable way to look after their physical and mental health throughout lockdown.

Hundreds of Beryl bikes have been hired out each week since the beginning of the free-ride initiative in mid-September.

Councillor Martin Wilby, Norfolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and infrastructure, said: “The Beryl bike share scheme is one of the many ways the council is working collaboratively to enhance our active travel offering in Norwich, and it’s fantastic that we are able to extend the scheme.

“We have already seen a significant increase in the number of people cycling in Norwich since lockdown and throughout September and October and hopefully the extension of this offer will see the trend continue.”

Beryl CEO Philip Ellis added: “We want to do everything we can to make cycling more accessible to everyone across the city and are delighted that the free ride offer has been extended. Riders in Norwich have clocked up almost 1000 trips by Beryl pedal and e-Bikes already with up to 4,000 free rides of up to 30 minutes available.

“Two-thirds of all journeys are less than five miles, a trip that can easily be taken by a bike and within 30 minutes. The benefits of cycling for that long is enough to improve stress levels, physical health and reduce risks of illness.”

The initiative forms part of a package of Government measures in response to COVID-19 paid for through the Department for Transport’s Travel Demand Management fund.

Those using Beryl Bikes are encouraged to wash their hands immediately before and after use, stay two metres away from others whilst cycling and not to ride in large groups. Beryl’s guidance on safe use of the service can be found here.

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