Published: 10th MAY 2024

Ensuring cycling is for everyone: unique accessible cycle loan scheme arrives in London

In a landmark scheme for widening participation in cycling, we are working with partners to create a London-wide accessible cycle loan scheme. Wheels4MeLondon will provide improved options to travel actively for disabled people across the capital.

Riding upright trike along path in Brockwell Park, London

Upright trikes, like this one in Brockwell Park, are available to hire as part of Wheels4MeLondon

Wheels4MeLondon, in collaboration with Wheels for Wellbeing and Peddle My Wheels and funded by the Motability Foundation, will provide free cycle loans for disabled people. 

Many disabled people and those with long-term health conditions do not have the opportunity to cycle in a way that takes into account their needs, even though they would like to. In many cases, cycling would even be easier than walking, and cycles are frequently mobility aids in themselves. 

Our latest Walking and Cycling Index, the largest independent survey of active travel in the UK, found that 27% of disabled people do not cycle but would like to. Further to that, 25% of all people surveyed said access to a non-standard cycle like a tricycle or a handcycle would help them to cycle more. 

Disabled people are often not aware that non-standard cycles exist that can be a viable alternative to bicycles. By increasing access and training for non-standard cycles across London, we are working towards creating fully inclusive cycle hire. Through this project, more people will be able to take advantage of the wellbeing and physical health benefits of cycling.   

The Wheels4MeLondon scheme will offer free, month-long, accessible cycle loans for people across London. The types of cycle available include upright trikes and semi-recumbent trikes, with the fleet to be expanded to other models in the future. 

As well as this, the scheme includes free delivery, a training session, insurance against theft or damage, and collection when finished. The included cycle training is tailored to meet each individual’s specific needs, increasing travel safety and confidence when travelling in the capital.  

To ensure that participants receive the right services and cycles, Wheels for Wellbeing will provide consultation sessions to provide essential support and guidance. 

Riding upright trike in 2-way protected cycle lane, while an ambulance in 2-way mixed traffic, is passing a bus

London's landmark new scheme offers loans of non-standard cycles. Photo: Wheels for Wellbeing (WfW), Charlie Fernandes

Matching the right cycle to disabled people's needs

Lack of access to a suitable mobility aid can reduce or remove the ability to travel safely and independently for many. The Disabled Citizens’ Inquiry found that 86% of disabled people across the UK would find it useful for them to walk or wheel more if everyone who requires a mobility aid had financial support and advice to access one to meet their needs. 

To find out more about Wheels4MeLondon, visit the Wheels for Wellbeing website or Wheels4MeLondon at Ride London 2024 on Sunday 26 May.  

Will Norman, London Walking and Cycling Commissioner, said: “I welcome the launch of the Wheels4MeLondon inclusive cycle loan scheme and look forward to seeing many more people given the opportunity to experience the benefits and joys of cycling in the capital. Offering practical cycling options for disabled people, through non-standard cycle loans and supported training, is key to ensuring that cycling is accessible to everyone.   

“I hope that through this exciting initiative more people will feel confident to try cycling and acquire the skills to help make active travel a part of their everyday lives in our city.” 

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The cost of non-standard cycles remains prohibitive for most disabled people whilst options to borrow or hire such cycles are extremely rare. Blockquote quotation marks
Isabelle Clement MBE, Director of Wheels for Wellbeing

"Wheels for Wellbeing fights against all barriers to cycling," said the organisation's Director, Isabelle Clement. "Therefore, we are thrilled to see this accessible cycle loan scheme get off the ground."  

Alper Muduroglu, Chief Executive Officer of Peddle my Wheels, said: Creating a comprehensive adaptive cycle loan scheme in London has been a long-held ambition. 

“Everyone should have the right to walk or wheel around their neighbourhoods with ease, independence and confidence," said Alison Litherland, Head of Behaviour Change and Engagement at Sustrans, London.

“Our 2.5-year project, funded by the Motability Foundation, will increase cycling capacity for disabled people and will provide long-term motivation for changing travel behaviours."

Lisa Jones, Director of Charitable Operations at the Motability Foundation, said: “The project will give disabled people in London greater access to travel and offer the opportunity to enjoy the physical and mental health benefits that active travel can provide."

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