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E-bikes help officers in their pathway inspection duties

Photo of man riding e-bike in countryside

July 16, 2021

Photo of man riding e-bike in countryside
 Rights of Way (ROW) and Countryside officers working for Powys County Council are finding e-bikes are helping them to carry out their inspections much more quickly.

A pilot is in place to assess the usefulness of e-bikes by some council and Powys Teaching Health Board teams.  Usual practice would have seen the council's  staff working in a rural area drive to the nearest parking place and then walk to check a stretch of right of way. Now, for the part of their journey that they formerly walked, they can use e-bikes to travel - giving them the chance to cover their network much more quickly.

And when checking ROWs in town, they are finding that they are moving around even more quickly than by driving as they can use shared pathways to avoid traffic and don't waste time parking their vehicles.

E-bikes provide assistance to the rider when pedalling but, unlike electric mopeds or motorbikes, still require the rider to pedal to move so there are exercise benefits to the rider. The e-bikes have been purchased from Powys bike shops using funding from Welsh Government.

Countryside and Outdoor Recreation Officer Steve Gealy is taking part in the scheme: "We are finding the bikes really useful. For example, I recently had to visit a stretch of land on the hill above Machynlleth golf club which was some four miles from the road. Normally, that would have taken half a day just to walk to that area and get back but we could do it in a couple of hours on the e-bike and we're still getting exercise."

Councillor Heulwen Hulme is the council's Cabinet Member with responsibility for Rights of Way. She commented: "This is another example of how we can use new technology to modify our working practices and become more efficient, minimise our impact upon the climate and provide health benefits for our staff, too."

She added: "Earlier this year we also introduced our first electric refuse lorry and with initiatives like this we can help to reduce our carbon footprint, "added Cllr. Hulme.

"We are really grateful to the Welsh Government for this funding which is allowing us to investigate which roles within the council and the health board can be helped by e-bikes when doing their day-to-day work."

Parking enforcement officers within the council are also trialling the e-bikes in some areas and are also finding positive results.