Access to BikesCycling Scotland

Access to Bikes - Just Eat Cycles
executive summary

Our research gave the Scottish Government a comprehensive overview of access to bike schemes in Scotland, helping them to identify gaps where funding or support might be targeted in future.

Read the full report here.

See also the presentation made to the 02/06/21 National Active Travel Conference.


Cycling Scotland commissioned Transform Consulting to conduct research into access to bike schemes across Scotland. These are schemes that help people who either can’t afford or don’t yet want to buy a bike, such as cycle to work salary sacrifice, on-street bike hire, bike libraries and bike recycling.

Prior to our report, there was no understanding of the scope of access to bike schemes operating in Scotland. There was no comprehensive record of how many schemes operated, where they were, who ran them or who was benefiting. This made it hard for Cycling Scotland, Transport Scotland and their partners to target funding and support to the areas it was needed most.


We began by consulting almost twenty national organisations with responsibility for cycling in Scotland. This gave us a much better understanding of what data already existed on access to bike schemes. We identified over 200 organisations who ran schemes and ran an online survey to find out more about them.


The survey had a response rate of almost 50%. The depth and breadth of schemes identified indicated that there was a clear demand for bikes in a wide variety of locations, and many operators were keen to expand to reach more people. However, funding was a major challenge. The majority of schemes were small, local projects and many relied on year-to-year grant funding; getting secure, sustained funding was often difficult.

We made the following recommendations:

  1. Provide multi-year funding to give organisations more financial security when running an access to bike scheme and to ensure that access to bike schemes can continue into the future and, where necessary, expand.
  2. Set clear objectives for access to bike schemes, in line with the objectives and indicators of the Active Travel Framework. In particular, emphasise the importance of monitoring trip purpose and evaluating the impact on modal shift away from private car travel.
  3. Consider whether it is necessary to collect national data on bike recycling and re-use in Scotland. We found that this data was not currently being collected.
  4. Consider whether it is necessary to increase access to bikes for adults who are self-employed or not working, and people living outside the Central Belt. These people tended to have less access to schemes.



Cycling Scotland approached Transform Consulting to research the current approaches enabling access to bikes across Scotland, to provide an evidence base for strategic options to increase access to bikes. Transform Consulting comprehensively understood our needs and applied knowledge and experience in designing surveys and managing projects to establish a project proposal that captured essential, pertinent qualitative and quantitative data to underpin the report. Working with Transform provided added value given their understanding of policy and current strategic priorities. The client relationship developed in the most difficult of circumstances as the project began just began at start of COVID pandemic and lockdown and the positive response to the survey is indicative of the effective and trusted stakeholder network that Transform has nurtured. Given the uncertainty and general business interruption, communication with Transform has been excellent and the report was delivered within time and budget.

Kath Brough, Head of Behaviour Change, Cycling Scotland


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