E-bikes move to K-town as latest scan and go transport hits Kettering streets

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The electric bikes are available from today (Thursday)

Residents in Kettering will find yet more brightly coloured bicycles around the town as an e-bike scheme is launched alongside the existing Voi e-scooters.

Available to hire from today (January 21) the 20 e-bikes will be available to rent in Kettering, from 4am to 11pm at the cost of £1 to unlock the e-bike and then 15p per minute of usage.

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Managed by Voi, Kettering is one of the first towns in the UK to offer both scooters and bikes.

Voi e-bikes can be pedalled and are assisted by an electric motor up to 15.5 mph. When fully charged, Voi’s e-bike can ride up to 31 miles.

Rochelle Mathieson, head of commercial & economic development at Kettering Council, said: “Following on from the success of the e-scooter scheme, it’s exciting to be able to provide another sustainable and affordable way to get around the area.

"Among the many benefits of introducing e-bikes, this initiative also provides a greener alternative for travel in and around the town, which is a fantastic resource during these unprecedented times.

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"We hope more residents and visitors to the town will benefit from this new venture.”

E-bikes have arrived in KetteringE-bikes have arrived in Kettering
E-bikes have arrived in Kettering

As part of its Voi 4 Heroes initiative, the e-scooter operator is offering NHS and emergency service workers free access to Voi during the lockdown, so it is easier for them to commute or shop in a socially-distanced manner.

To be eligible, users have to upload their NHS identity, Blue Light Card or Defence Discount Service to the Voi app or website.

Polly Grimmett, director of strategy for Kettering General Hospital, said: “This is a really exciting development. We are working hard to develop travel alternatives for our staff and visitors to the hospital site and the introduction of e-bikes will make a real difference and broaden the options that are open to people.

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“At KGH we are committed to enabling sustainable travel as part of our approach to becoming ‘net carbon zero’, and will be actively supporting this new initiative which, alongside the e-scooter service, will help to reduce congestion and pressure on car parking.”

The blue area shows where Voi e-scooters and Voi e-bikes will workThe blue area shows where Voi e-scooters and Voi e-bikes will work
The blue area shows where Voi e-scooters and Voi e-bikes will work

Riders will find e-bikes parked next to e-scooters and they will be bound by the same geographical area as e-scooters.

Voi e-bikes use geofencing to ensure no ride, slow ride and no parking zones are observed, and they will be fitted with number plates to make it easy to identify and report.

Jason Smithers, cabinet member for highways and place for Northamptonshire County Council, said: “The e-scooter trials in Northampton and Kettering are already proving to be a real boost in improving access to greener, more sustainable and affordable transport.

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"For this reason, we’re confident the e-bike scheme will be just as popular, and we’re delighted to be able to introduce this phase as the next step in our journey to providing alternative travel.

The launch of the e-scootersThe launch of the e-scooters
The launch of the e-scooters

“Voi has done a fantastic job so far in delivering these schemes both in Northampton and Kettering and we’re very pleased to have formed this exciting partnership over the last few months, delivering major transformation in our county.

“Of course, rider safety is our number one concern and, with this in mind, we ask that users adhere to the new lockdown rules from central government, using the e-scooters and e-bikes only for essential journeys at the present time.”

Similarly to e-scooters, to ride an e-bike, users need to be 18-years-old and over, are required to download the Voi app, available for free on Apple App Store or Google Play, and will have to present at least a provisional licence.

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Voi also offers 24-hour (at £10) and 30-day (at £40) subscriptions that allow users to take an unlimited number of rides at a fixed rate. In addition, there are discounts for students, those on a low income - Voi 4 All.

Like e-scooters, Voi’s e-bikes will also be cleaned and disinfected every 24 hours to ensure that they cannot become a source of infection.

In addition, Voi e-bikes are fitted with copper tape that inactivates and minimises the transmission of coronavirus.

Voi also provides COVID-19 advice and information via the app and encourages its users to use hand sanitiser and wear gloves.

Safety rules issued for riders include:

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

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In addition, Voi advises e-bike riders to wear a helmet when riding a bike, so they stay safe.

For safety reasons, e-bikes should not be used in Kettering’s pedestrianised areas or where cycling is prohibited.

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