Bike discounts and free cycle training for job seekers
Jobseekers are to be offered cut-price bikes and cycle training in an attempt to help them land work.
The project, one of the first of its kind in the country, has started across West Yorkshire and is also open to apprentices.
It is one of the projects being funded by a £1.5m Department for Transport grant to promote cycling and walking to work across West Yorkshire. The scheme is being run by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, with help from transport charity Sustrans and cycling trainers BikeRight.
Councillor Keith Wakefield, transport chairman for the combined authority, said: “This initiative is going to have a real impact in West Yorkshire, not only for cycling but also for those who are looking for work.
“Transport is such an important part of any economy and cycling is a cheap and flexible mode, providing you have a bike and can ride it with confidence.
“For someone who doesn’t have access to a car, they would have trouble taking on a job that includes shift work when public transport might not be running, or at a workplace that doesn’t have a bus stop nearby.”
The project will give cycling training to hundreds of jobseekers and apprentices at beginner, intermediate or advanced level depending on their experience.
They will also have the opportunity to buy one of about 250 bikes at a reduced rate.
Training will take place at five CityConnect cycle hubs – one in each local authority area – across West Yorkshire.
The scheme follows a successful pilot earlier this year that trained almost 150 people.
Of these, a quarter who already had a bike now cycle regularly for transport while the number of participants now cycling at least once a week has risen by 65 per cent.
Rosslyn Colderley, a director at Sustrans, said: “We’re really excited to help more people get on their bikes and use the growing number of quality cycle routes in West Yorkshire.
“Getting the confidence to ride a bicycle for your everyday travel can be life-changing. Bikes are cheap to run, they’re often quicker than a car in urban areas and they make people feel healthier and happier.”
For more details about the scheme, visit cyclecityconnect.co.uk/cycle-training