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Plymouth joins World Car-Free Day celebrations

12 September 2023
Rider on Beryl e-bike

Plymouth residents are being encouraged to leave the car at home on Friday 22 September and explore other ways of getting from A to B, as the city joins others across the country and the globe in celebrating World Car-Free Day.

The annual event highlights the numerous benefits of car-free travel, including reduced air pollution, safer roads and improved health and wellbeing.

To help promote the day and the car-free options available in Plymouth, we are hosting an event in the city centre, with fun activities and advice from a range of local transport providers and organisations offering practical support.

For one day only we are also offering everyone in Plymouth two free hour-long Beryl rides, giving them the chance to try out the popular e-bikes for a relaxing commute, enjoy a ride just for fun or see for themselves what light work they can make of the city’s hills.

You can redeem your two free rides at any of the docking stations in Plymouth – you just need to have downloaded the Beryl app and set up an account. The two free rides will automatically appear on your account on Car-Free Day. Just find your nearest bay and start riding. (Both rides must be redeemed on 22 September. Full terms and conditions can be found here.)

Local residents and visitors have pedalled over 100,000km on Beryl e-bikes since they were launched in Plymouth in March – that’s a quarter of the way to the moon – and with 500 e-bikes stationed across the city, the two free rides on Car-Free Day are the perfect opportunity to give it a go. There will also be free guided Beryl e-bike rides around the city centre, towards the Hoe and back, giving anyone aged 16 or over a fun, safe way to try them out.

If you have your own bike and want to make sure it’s in good working order, take advantage of a free maintenance check, courtesy of Dr Bike’s experienced mechanics. Or if you fancy a fun challenge why not have a go at pedalling a bike to power a television, a smoothie bike, or a bubble machine?

Councillor Mark Coker, Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport and Planning, said: “Walking, cycling, wheeling or taking the bus – even for just a few journeys – can make a huge difference to our health and wellbeing. It also helps to reduce congestion on our roads and make them safer. I gave up the car some years ago and really feel benefits of travelling mainly on foot and by bus. I hope that World Car-Free Day will inspire both drivers and non-drivers to try out new healthy ways to get around and make them regular travel choices.”

Councillor Tom Briars-Delve, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: “Every car journey saved reduces emissions on our roads and helps us achieve Plymouth’s target to become carbon neutral by 2030. Events like this help to show us the greener ways we can travel around the city, whether it’s for work, to get to appointments, to go shopping, to visit friends or family or just to enjoy our fantastic surroundings. I make the majority of my journeys by bike and I think people would be surprised how easy and convenient it can be. There’s also lots of support and training available if you’re new to cycling or need a little extra confidence. By taking these options more often we can all help to improve our local air quality and environment.”

The Car-Free Day event will take place on the Armada Way piazza from 11am to 5pm and there will be a range of advice on sustainable travel options and ways to improve your journeys and make the most of what is on offer, as well as some freebies.

Organisations attending the event include the Council, Beryl, Plymouth City Bus, Stagecoach, Bikespace, Sustrans, Plymouth Schools Sports Partnership, Plymouth Boat Trips, National Express and Climate Connections. Jump on the bus and take advantage of the £2 fare cap on all single bus journeys until 31 October.

For more information on the help available see our Plymotion web pages. Together with partners such as Sustrans, Bikespace and the Plymouth Schools Sport Partnership, we offer a range of practical support, including tailored programmes for schools, free bike checks for businesses and individuals, a ‘commuter tutor’ service, journey planning advice and free walking and cycling incentives.

Information about Beryl e-bike hire can be found on our Connect Plymouth site.