Government's bike voucher scheme website crashes as soon as it goes live

July 29, 2020

Boris Johnson's plan to get the nation cycling suffered a difficult start when the website offering free bike repairs crashed at its launch.

The government is offering 50,000 Fix Your Bike vouchers worth £50 each as part of its new Better Health campaign to get Britons to lose weight.

The website was supposed to go live at 11.45pm on Tuesday.

But instead of getting a standard service or replacement part for free, people were faced with an "Error 404" message and were unable to access the site.

A message on the website later told people: "There are no vouchers available right now.

"Vouchers are being released gradually to reflect the capacity of the bike repairers signed up to the scheme. More vouchers will be made available as soon as possible."

Frustrated users took to social media to complain there was no-one to fix the problem and #FixYourBikeVoucherScheme soon became the UK's number one Twitter trend.

One disappointed cyclist tweeted: "After 1 hour and 45minutes of refreshing, I'm going to bed.

"So disappointed in the way this has been handled. Was really hoping to fix my bike but instead all I'll be is super tired at work tomorrow."

Someone else wrote: "Essentially spent the last hour holding my eyelids open to be able to register for the #FixYourBikeVoucherScheme.

"Of course the website is down. This is the government we're dealing with."

The website finally began working around 4am.

The scheme is costing the government £2bn and promises to provide thousands of miles of new cycle lanes, cycling training and more electric bikes.

Ministers have also vowed to work with police to tackle bike theft.

Mr Johnson's obesity crackdown comes after he nearly died of coronavirus; the prime minister has said he was "too fat" when he contracted the virus.

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He is urging people to shed five pounds to save the NHS time and money and will encourage doctors to prescribe cycling to those who need to lose weight.

Sky News has contacted the Department for Health and Social Care for comment.

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