Drivers in Aylestone, Leicester, to be offered free bikes to cycle to work
Drivers are to be given free bikes in a bid to get them out of their cars and into cycle lanes.
The experiment is the idea of Aylestone ward councillors Nigel Porter and Adam Clarke who asked for £3,000 from Leicester City Council to get it up and running.
They plan to hand out a mixture of new and second-hand bikes to about 15 commuters, in return for a promise they will cycle to work regularly.
They hope if they can prove it gets drivers off the roads they can persuade the council to give them more cash to expand the project in the ward and elsewhere in the city.
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Coun Porter said: "You can spend £10 million widening or extending a road to cope with extra traffic but we thought if you can spend far less giving people a bike to get them off the road, it is worth a try.
"If this works, we need to get evidence to show it would be a great scheme for more people.
"Apart from taking people off the roads, there are all the health benefits, too."
Coun Porter said it was yet to be decided how the bikes would be allocated but they would be given out on trust.
Users would be asked to keep a diary of when they ride them.
A main commuter route into the city, Aylestone Road, is often congested.
People who work in the area thought it was a good idea.
Jayshree Madhvai, owner of Beautique Hair and Beauty salon, in Aylestone Road, said: "I think it is a brilliant idea.
"The roads in the area can be a nightmare, so I can not think of a better area to try this out.
"Parking in the area is terrible, too.
"I drive from Oadby and I often wish I could cycle in.
"But I think that might be tricky with the huge pile of towels I have to bring to work everyday."
Cyclist Fiona Chartres, a sales assistant at Brikabrak Picture Frames, in Aylestone Road, said: "I think it sounds fantastic.
"Giving someone a bike is a great incentive to get them out of their car – it gives them the push they need.
"However, I think if they are encouraging cycling they should fix the huge potholes in the roads around here.
"I find them very dangerous when I am cycling to work from my home in Stoneygate."
The scheme is open to people who work or live in Aylestone, who usually drive to work and would be willing to get on their bike most days.
To take part or for more information, e-mail email@example.com