NGO Ungrukivi Selts has proposed an idea of developing a network of electric bicycles on Hiiumaa with the development's first stages planned for the region of Kõrgessaare.
NGO Ungrukivi Selts board member Peep Lillemägi said there are many culturally important locations for tourists to discover in Kõrgessaare. He sees up to eight rental stations on Hiiumaa in the future, covering the entire island.
"Hiiumaa is a nice island in that sense that 20 kilometers gets you quite far. The island is circled by a ring road, more and more people are coming here to share their lives between Tallinn and the island. And trully, six to eight rental stations, some of them in Hiiumaa's beautiful marinas, giving yacht tourists further options. Those rental points would cover all of that," Lillemägi explained.
To test the idea in Kõrgessaare, an investment of €50,000 is necessary first. Lillemägi said the local municipality government has already supported the initiative but a private investment or European Union funds could also be used. The city of Tartu, where a similar rental service has been in use for several years, has shared their experiences with the people of Hiiu.
Tartu's city transport manager Roman Meeksa said: "Firstly, you need to explore what the locals want. If anything is created, it should be by their desires. Secondly, a procurement document must be crafted very carefully to be able to acquire what is necessary and then the whole system can be put together."
Lillemägi has explored the option of using bicycles made by company Ampler Bikes. The company's marketing director Ott Ilves spoke at a conference at Hiiumaa and said electric bicycles are becoming more and more popular in Europe.
Ilves said: "There are many users and buyers. The previous presentation said that every other bicycle on certain markets, be it Germany and even the Netherlands, is electric. This means there are also more producers. Large bicycle producers who did not produce electric bicycles before, have now begun producing electric bicycles."
Peep Lillemägi hopes the first rental point in Kõrgessaare can be opened next year.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste