A disability rights campaign group in Islington have asked for more consideration from e-bike hire companies over bikes allegedly blocking access to pavements, after 150 Freebikes were introduced in the London borough this week.
Andy Green of the Disability Action in Islington told the Islington Tribune that he wants bike hire companies to work with them, as they "weren't consulted" about the new electric bikes and existing ones were already blocking some pavement access. Lime Bikes and Uber's Jump bikes were already introduced in London earlier this year.
Wheelchair user Mr Green claims to have seen a "rising number" of bikes blocking pavements, and this has particular implications for those with mobility impairments. He told the Islington Tribune: “These bikes are a growing concern. They’ve popped up all over the place and it can be awkward or impossible to get around them if they’re parked inconsiderately. Bike hire companies need to speak to us as it has such a direct impact on us navigating the borough.”
A further suggestion was to make bikes that are suitable for those with reduced mobility, such as handcycles or bikes with stabilisers: "With all these innovations in technology, they should make it more accessible.
“I get why these bikes are important given climate change and the need for green modes of transport – disabled people aren’t against it – but we need to be included in any change happening on the roads. It’s not working at the moment.”
Freebike claim that if users want to leave bikes on the pavement outside of a docking station they must pay an extra £1, and the locations are never in areas that would block pavement access. They also say they are in the process of developing tricycles for people with disabilities.