British e-mobility specialist Pure Electric today calls on the Government to encourage over 65s to get back in the saddle through a new, nationwide ‘Cycle in Retirement’ scheme.
Under the plans, retired Brits would be given a 20% discount on a new bike or e-bike of their choice through a voucher scheme linked to the state pension.
Pure Electric believes over a million over 65s could take part in the scheme – boosting physical activity, helping the environment, and reducing the burden on the NHS.
The scheme would cost an estimated £50 million a year – compared with the £50 billion cost of freezing fuel duty since 2011. It would mirror the popular ‘Cycle to Work’, an initiative launched 20 years ago where companies can subsidise the cost of a bike for staff.
Peter Kimberley, Pure Electric chief executive, said: “Cycle to Work has been so successful over the past two decades, and now’s the perfect time, particularly given the new Lockdown, to build on that by targeting the 12 million over 65s who aren’t in work and can’t qualify for it.
“The pandemic has highlighted the benefits of regular exercise and cleaner air. We understand the Treasury is under considerable pressure, but this money might make the difference between the elderly deciding to stay in or taking up a new activity.
“It doesn’t seem fair that working age people have been able to access Government support to enjoy the benefits of cycling but retired people can’t. We’d love to see other bike retailers, sporting bodies, charities and MPs join with us and back this idea.”
The scheme would cover both traditional bikes and the new generation of e-bikes, such as those sold by Pure Electric. In the past year sales of e-bikes are thought to have leapt across the country by as much as 50 per cent across the country, led by London and Bristol.
According to the National Travel Survey, less than a quarter of over 60s have a bike compared with almost half of 40 to 49 year-olds.
More than six million over 55s are thought to be ‘inactive’ – and regular physical exercise is seen as being one of the best ways of reducing the risk of developing dementia.
Physical inactivity in later life is thought to cost the NHS more than £100 million a year.
Under the plans, a retired person would identify the bike or e-bike they wished to purchase from a participating retailer. They would then apply for a voucher for the full amount from the Department of Work and Pensions through the ‘Cycle in Retirement’ scheme.
The Government would then recoup 80 per cent of the cost over a period one to two years through a deduction to the state pension.
A survey earlier last summer found that more than eight in 10 people picked up cycling again in the first Covid lockdown.
But a poll by Pure Electric found that only 15% of over 65s believe the Government is doing enough to encourage cycling among retirees and that 78 per cent would back the Cycle in Retirement scheme.