Also attending the Park and Ride launch in Canberra on 9th February was Nic Plunkett who is the Senior Policy Officer in the Department of Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate. She is overseeing a program that, if it was to be copied by other state and local governments across Australia, would see a significant boost to the Australian bicycle industry.
“By 2020 the ACT Government wants to be carbon neutral,” she explained. “It’s complicated. Government includes the schools, all the local and state government functions. Part of the message to our staff is, ‘Let’s get active!’ So we’ve introduced an ebike fleet.
“We’re trialling ebikes in government for short work trips, mostly for meetings but some people will also use them for up to 10km inspection routes that are flattish, that they’re capable of doing via ebike.
“They’re the type of initiatives we’re trying to get into the workplace so that their longer term choices include active travel.
“We’ve currently got a fleet of eight ebikes on trial. We’ve already established a fleet of normal bikes, which has been in place for about five years. We realised that by going to ebikes, we could encourage a broader proportion of our staff to ride. They’ll get less sweaty and it’s a little more comfortable to ride.
“Because it’s a shared fleet across different users, and because we’re buying an asset for government we wanted to go with a quality bicycle.”
Although Nic was reluctant to name the supplying and servicing bicycle businesses it was plain to see that the ebikes are Kalkhoff’s. They are being purchased and serviced via a local bicycle store.