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Operators encourage pensioners to take a ride

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As we enter the new year, Forest is one operator that is seeking to put pensioners higher on its agenda after a CoMoUK report found that riders over the age of 55 constitute just 10% of all bike share users. 

To increase participation of those aged 60 or over, the operator has added this demographic to its ‘Friends of the Forest’ scheme which already offers discounts for students, NHS staff and emergency services.

The addition to the scheme follows demographic data over recent years which reveals the health benefits of cycling to those aged 60 and over.

“Our overarching mission, not just with Friends of the Forest, is to get more people onto sustainable, active modes of transport,” Forest’s Head of Sustainability Laura Elms told Zag Daily.

“It’s all about a gentle shift in habits across all demographics and we truly believe that getting more people cycling will help improve health, air quality and congestion in our cities.”

One paper titled ‘The effect of cycling on cognitive function and well-being in older adults’ found that cyclists between the age of 50 to 83 benefited from improved cognitive and mental health whether they were riding a non-assisted pedal bike or an e-bike.

Despite this, the National Trust Survey found that just 25% of all over 60s own a bike compared to almost half of those aged 40 to 49.

“There are multiple barriers to entry for older generations,” Laura said. “Of course, mobility, safety and health are important features but a big one is technological accessibility. Typically, older generations are less familiar with the apps and the payment processes needed to access shared mobility and this is something the industry needs to work on.

“In time, we will naturally see older generations using digital services more frequently but there are also things we can be doing to make the services more user-friendly and appealing for them. I also think that the concept of shared mobility, over and above private ownership, is relatively new and will take time to embed into the mindsets of all generations.”

Tier is another operator working to increase micromobility accessibility for older riders, with particular focus on increasing safety.

“Tier is working with Local Authorities to advise on and enhance the provision of segregated cycling infrastructure, which people feel safer using, and we offer training sessions for new riders with BikeWorks,” Tier’s Senior Director Benjamin Bell told Zag.

“We also include national bus and railcard holders in our UK Access Scheme, providing a discount for the over 60s. We ultimately want micromobility to be accessible to all corners of society.”

Voi offers discounts to pensioners in the UK and Austria. “We have had positive feedback from riders who can’t walk so far due to age, a disability or energy-limiting condition that riding an e-scooter gives them freedom,” said Matthew Pencharz, Voi’s Head of Public Policy for UK, Ireland and France. 

For Dott, the key to making micromobility as accessible as possible is offering a choice of e-bikes and e-scooters.

“This allows people to choose the mode which they are most comfortable with,” said Dott’s Chief Business Officer Nicolas Gorse. 

“We also offer a range of online and in-person training, with courses set up across the cities we operate in, allowing people to get used to our vehicles in a safe and controlled environment before going out on the roads.”

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